Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol 1, No 4 (2011), 349-355, Apr 2011

Analysis of Complimenting in L1 vs. L2 Written Discourse: A Case Study of Iranian Students Writing Review Letters

Gholam Reza Zarei


The present study was carried out to compare and contrast complimenting as used in L1 (Farsi) and L2 (English) writings of Iranian students in a foreign language learning context. For the purpose, sixty five university senior students majoring in English and taking the specialized course called "essay writing" were selected for the study. First, they were instructed how to write review letters on their classmates' essays in both L1 and L2 and then their letters were analyzed on the basis of the framework provided by Johnson and Roen (1992), and Chafe and Danielwicz (1987). The results indicated that Iranian students (female and male) did not make significantly different uses of L1 and L2 complimenting in terms of form and strategies. Also, the gender of the addressees was not accommodated to by the addressors differently as regards the use of form and strategies of complimenting in L1 and L2. The results suggest that L1 and L2, if used under some formal class based conditions, tend to become maximally similar, showing no transfer of L1 potentiality into L2.


L1, L2 learning politeness, complimenting, face threatening act, written discourse


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