Content Analysis of Iranian High School English Textbooks in terms of Politeness Markers, Speech Acts, and Language Functions

Document Type : Research Paper


1 English Department, Faculty of Humanities, University of Qom, Qom, Iran

2 English Department, faculty of Humanities, University of Qom, Qom, Iran



Considering the indispensable role pragmatic knowledge plays in not only comprehending L2 materials, but also in making and maintaining proper communication, and the fact that Iranian EFL learners are primarily exposed to the target language through textbooks, this research intended to discern how frequently and appropriately Politeness Markers (PMs), Speech Acts (SAs), and Language Functions (LFs) are being incorporated in newly-published Iranian high school English textbooks: Prospect and Vision Series. Furthermore, the study set out to investigate the possible relations between the level of the textbooks and the frequency of pragmatic components being included. To this end, 172 conversations of the aforementioned textbooks were thoroughly analyzed to determine the frequency of the PMs based on House and Kasper (1981) taxonomy, the frequency of SAs based on Searle's (1979) paradigm, and the frequency of LFs according to Halliday’s (1978) framework. Findings revealed that Committers were the most frequently-used PMs, Representatives and Directives were the most commonly-used SAs, and Informatives enjoyed the highest frequency among LFs. The results also indicated that these pragmatic components were not equally distributed throughout the conversations and no significant relationship existed between level of the textbooks and frequency of the pragmatic elements. In addition to the consciousness-raising dimension of the study, material developers might be able to appropriately represent and include pragmatic information into their materials. Moreover, teachers might also be able to amend and modify their adopted approaches to foreign language teaching and adjust them to accommodate potential learner styles and their preferences.


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