Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

E-mail this page

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: The Persian System of Politeness and the Persian Folk Concept of Face, with Some Reference to EFL Teaching to Iranian Native Speakers Add Dissertation
Author: Sofia Koutlaki Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Cardiff University, Centre for Language and Communication
Completed in: 1997
Linguistic Subfield(s): Applied Linguistics; Pragmatics;
Subject Language(s): English
Persian, Iranian
Director(s): Adam Jaworski

Abstract: Given that politeness in Persian, as understood by native speakers, has a very strong normative aspect, Fraser's (1975) and Fraser and Nolen's (1981) formulation of a Conversational Contract (CC) among speakershas been adopted. According to the Persian Conversational Contract (PCC), participants in an interaction will direct their verbal and non-verbal behaviour towards maintaining and enhancing each other's face.

Strategies of face maintenance and enhancement are classified under the maxims of Deference, Humility and Cordiality (adapted from Leech 1981)and realised through specific ritual courtesy strategies, which are labeled 'ta'arof' in Persian folk reminology.

The concept of face in Persian consists of two folk notions, 'shakhsiyat' (personality, character, honour, self-respect, social standing) and 'ehteram'(honour, respect,,esteem, dignity). The thesis argues that an individual adopts politeness strategies in Persian in order to manifest his/her 'ehteram' and at the same time to maintain and enhance all interlocutors' 'shakhsiyat'. In other words, facework in Persian is said to have a strong phatic aspect (Malinowski 1923[1972], Laver 1975).

Drawing on the work of Brown and Levinson, this thesis argues that their model of politeness (1978,1987) cannot account satisfactorily for the Persian data and that a more wide-ranging framework ulilising the work of Fraser (1975, 1990), Fraser and Nolen (1981), Leech (1983) and Mao (1994) needs to be introduced here to present a more complete picture of Persian notions of face and politeness.

The thesis offers suggestions for the design and production of teaching materials for Iranian EFL students, incorporating the information on the cultural differences between English and Persian with regards to politeness.