A Study of Language and Power in Persian Workplace Discourse with a Focus on Forms of Address and Politeness Strategies

Bahram Behin, Elaheh Shekary


Terms of address are an important part of “face” (Brown and Levinson, 1987) for colleagues in workplace discourse. This study investigates the ways power relations influence politeness strategies in choosing address terms. In order to determine whether and to what extent the realization of forms of address and the choice of appropriate politeness strategies by Iranian Persian speaking male and female colleagues differ in relation to people with different power status, interactions between English teachers during the fifteen-minute breaks after each class were recorded. Three English teaching institutes were selected to study the effect of gender on applying politeness strategies in addressing the colleagues; male’s, female’s, and mixed gender workplace. Ten conversations from each institute were transcribed. Using Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness model, politeness strategies residing in different forms of address employed by colleagues were identified and analyzed based on the power differences between interlocutors. Also address terms were counted according to the situation in which they were used. The findings of this study provide some evidence for the relation between gender and type of address terms and choice of politeness strategies associated with colleagues with different power status. A person with less power would prefer to use negative politeness strategies whereas a person with more power would tend to use positive ones in addressing colleagues at work.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2013.v4n6p763

Full Text: PDF

Licenza Creative Commons
This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

Copyright © MCSER-Mediterranean Center of Social and Educational Research

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'mcser.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders..