"C u @ d Uni": Analysis of academic emails written by native and non-native English speakers

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, TEFL

2 PhD. Candidate, TEFL


The present study examined email communication practices of two groups of students in Iran and the United States to uncover the probable differences between Iranian and American email communication norms. The study also aimed at investigating how power distance in academic centers influences students’ choices of communication strategies in email writing. The use of two politeness strategies namely “indirectness” and “message length” and some common politeness conventions including opening and closing protocols were observed in Iranian and American emails. The findings showed that both Iranian and American students’ choices of opening and closing protocols alter as the students’ institutional distance from the person to whom they write changes. Also, differences were found in the use of politeness strategies in American and Iranian email messages. The study concluded that Iranian students probably resort to their L1 social and cultural norms in their email communication, particularly, in their status-equal communication.


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