Document Type : Original Article


Shahrekord University


This study aimed to investigate EFL learners’ request strategies to faculty to see whether politeness is interpreted differently or similarly across gender and different levels of language proficiency in text-based synchronous computer-mediated communication (SCMC). Data included initial semistructured interviews with 4 EFL instructors and 10 college EFL learners. Based on the interviews, an online task was developed that included request situations that were most likely to occur in real life in SCMC settings. Having administered the Oxford Quick Placement Test (OQPT), the online task was completed by 99 lower-intermediate and 118 upper-intermediate EFL learners in 4 universities in Iran. Participants’ request strategies were coded and analysed to explore the possible differences. Chi-square findings suggested that gender had no relations with the choice of request strategies by the participants to faculty in SCMC; however, level of proficiency made a difference. This research provides guidelines for course designers to generate appropriate pedagogic guidelines for EFL learners in their hierarchical relationships with their teachers.


Allami, H. (2006). A sociopragmatic analysis of griping: The case of Iranian students. The Linguistic Journal, 1(1), 59-76.
Allami, H., & Naeimi, A. (2011). A cross-linguistic study of refusals: An analysis of pragmatic competence development in Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Pragmatics, 43(1), 385-406.
Arani, S. S., & Tehrani, N. S. (2013). The impact of age and sex on the refusal strategies used by Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature, 2(4), 110-117.
Bacha, N. N., Bahous, R., & Diab, R. L. (2012). Gender and politeness in a foreign language academic context. International Journal of English Linguistics, 2(1), 79-96.
Bachman, L. F., & Palmer, A. (2010). Language assessment in practice: Developing language assessments and justifying their use in the real world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2001). Evaluating the empirical evidence: Grounds for instruction in pragmatics? In K. Rose & G. Kasper (Eds.), Pragmatics in language teaching (pp. 13-32).  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Berry, J. W., Poortinga, Y. H., Segall, M. H., & Dasen, P. R. (2002). Cross-cultural psychology: Research and applications. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Blake, H. (2008). Innovation in practice: Mobile phone technology in patient care. British Journal of Community Nursing, 13(4), 160-165.
Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G. (1989). The CCSARP coding manual. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, & G.  Kasper (Eds.), Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies (pp. 273-294). Norwood: Albex.
Chapelle, C. (2001). Computer applications in second language acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Coates, J. (1993). Women, men, and language: A sociolinguistic account of gender difference in language. New York: Longman Publishing.
Cook, M., & Liddicoat, A. J. (2002). The development of comprehension in interlanguage pragmatics. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, 25(1), 19-39.
Darhower, M. (2002). Interactional features of synchronous computer-mediated communication in the intermediate L2 class: A sociocultural case study. CALICO journal, 249-277.
Ellis, R. (2008). Learner beliefs and language learning. Asian EFL Journal, 10(4), 7-25.
Eslami-Rasekh, Z., & Liu, C. N. (2013). Learning pragmatics through computer-mediated communication in Taiwan. International Journal of Society, Culture & Language, 1(1), 52.
Fasold, R. W. (2000). The sociolinguistics of language. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Freiermuth, M. R. (2011). Debating in an online world: A comparative analysis of speaking, writing, and online chat. Text and Talk-An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse and Communication Studies, 31(2), 127-151.
Hashemian, M. (2014). A pragmatic study of requestive speech act by Iranian EFL Learners and Canadian native speakers in hotels. Journal of Teaching Language Skills, 33(2), 1-25.
Hobbs, P. (2003). The medium is the message: Politeness strategies in men’s and women’s voice mail messages. Journal of Pragmatics, 35(2), 243-262.
Holmes, J. (1995). Women, Men, and Politeness. London: Longman.
Holmes, J. (2013). An introduction to sociolinguistics. London: Longman.
Hoven, D. (2006). Communicating and interacting: An exploration of the changing roles of media in CALL/CMC. Calico Journal, 23(2), 233-256.
Huang, A. H., Yen, D. C., & Zhang, X. (2008). Exploring the potential effects of emoticons. Information and Management, 45(7), 466-473.
Hung, Y. W., & Higgins, S. (2016). Learners’ use of communication strategies in text-based and video-based synchronous computer-mediated communication environments: Opportunities for language learning. Computer-Assisted Language Learning, 29(5), 901-924.
Hymes, D. (1974). Ways of speaking. Explorations in the Ethnography of Speaking, 1, 433-451.
Kasper, G., & Rose, K. R. (2002). Pragmatic development in a second language. Oxford: Blackwell.
Kern, R. G. (1995). Restructuring classroom interaction with networked computers: Effects on quantity and characteristics of language production. The Modern Language Journal, 79(4), 457-476.
Lee, L. (2002). Synchronous online exchanges: A study of modification devices on non-native discourse. System, 30, 275-288.
Lenhart, A., & Madden, M. (2007). Social networking websites and teens. Retrieved April 8, 2016, from the World Wide Web:
Lorenzo-Dus, N., & Bou-Franch, P. (2003). Gender and politeness: Spanish and British undergraduates’ perceptions of appropriate requests. Retrieved August 29, 2016, from the World Wide Web:
Madden, M., & Fox, S. (2006). Riding the waves of Web 2.0. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from the World Wide Web:
Maloney, E. (2007). What Web 2.0 can teach us about learning. Chronicle of Higher Education, 53(18), B26.
Martinez, F. M. (2009). Occasional phraseological synonymy. International Journal of English Studies, 6(1), 131-158.
Mills, S. (2003). Gender and politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mills, S. (2004). Class, gender, and politeness. Multilingual, 23(1-2), 171-190.
Mirzaei, A., Hashemian, M., & Khoramshekouh, A. (2016). L2 Learners’ Enhanced Pragmatic Comprehension of Implicatures via Computer-Mediated Communication and Social Media Networks. Iranian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 19(1), 141-180.
Lin, W. C., Huang, H. T., & Liou, H. C. (2013). The effects of text-based SCMC on SLA: A meta-analysis. Language Learning and Technology, 17(2), 123-142.
Nguyen, T. T. M. (2008). Modifying L2 criticisms: How learners do it? Journal of Pragmatics, 40, 768-791.
Nodoushan, M. A. S. (2008). Persian requests: Redress of face through indirectness. International Journal of Language Studies, 2(3), 257-280.
Norton, B. (2000). Identity and language learning: Gender, ethnicity, and educational change. London: Longman.
Oxford University Press & Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate. (2004). Oxford quick placement test. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Parvaresh, H. R., Bidaki, T., & Farahani, A. A. K. (2014). Refusal strategies of Iranian EFL learners: The role of sex, age, education levels, and politeness. International Journal of Education and Applied Sciences, 1(3), 121-128.
Payne, J. S., & Whitney, P. J. (2002). Developing L2 oral proficiency through synchronous CMC: Output, working memory, and interlanguage development. Calico Journal, 20(1), 7-32.
Pishghadam, R., & Sharafadini, M. (2011). Delving into speech act of suggestion: A case of Iranian EFL learners. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 2(16), 152-160.
Rassaei, E. (2017). Video chat vs. face-to-face recasts, learners’ interpretations and L2 development: A case of Persian EFL learners. Computer-Assisted Language Learning, 30(1-2)133-148.
Rezai, A. A., & Zafari, N. (2010). The Impact of synchronous computer-mediated communication (S-CMC) on the oral proficiency of Iranian EFL Learners. Iranian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 13(2), 101-119.
Rhem, J. (2000). Deep surfaces approaches to learning. National Teaching and Learning Forum, 5(1), 1-5.
Rose, K. (2000). An exploratory cross-sectional study of interlanguage pragmatic development. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22, 27-67.
Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., & Jefferson, G. (1974). A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50(4), 696-735.
Saidi, M., & Khosravi, M. (2015). EFL learners’ perceptions of (im)politeness: The possible gender differences. International Journal of Language and Applied Linguistics, 1(1), 1-11.
Saito, J. (2010). Managing confrontational situations: Japanese male superiors’ interactional styles in directive discourse in the workplace. Journal of Pragmatics, 43(6), 1689-1706.
Smith, B. (2003). Computer-mediated negotiated interaction: An expanded model. The Modern Language Journal, 87(1), 38-57.
Sykes, J. (2005). Synchronous CMC and pragmatic development: effects of oral and written chat. CALICO Journal, 22(3), 399-432.
Speer, S. A. (2002). Natural and contrived data: A sustainable distinction. Discourse Studies, 4(4), 511-525.
Taguchi, N. (2006). Analysis of appropriateness in a speech act of request in L2 English. Pragmatics, 16(4), 513-533.
Tarone, E. (2000). Frequency effects, noticing, and creativity. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24(2), 287-296.
van der Zwaard, R., & Bannink, A. (2014). Video call or chat? Negotiation of meaning and issues of face in telecollaboration. System, 44(1), 137-148.
Wardhaugh, R. (2000). An introduction to sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Williams, J. (2012). The potential role(s) of writing in second language development. Journal of Second Language Writing, 21(4), 321-331.
Xiao, F. (2015). Proficiency effect on L2 pragmatic competence. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 5(4), 557-581.
Xu, W., Case, R. E., & Wang, Y. (2009). Pragmatic and grammatical competence, length of residence, and overall L2 proficiency. System, 37, 205-216.