Document Type : Research Paper


Faculty of Humanities, Payame Noor University



The purpose of this cross-cultural CMC-based study is to investigate how the speech act of criticism is realized in the Instagram comments by Persian and English-speaking users in response to an announcement in Fall 2020 about school reopening during COVID-19. To this end, 400 Persian and English comments were collected in Fall 2020 from the Instagram pages of Iran and the U.S Secretaries of Education where they posted about the students’ return to school during the pandemic. The data were then analyzed based on Nguyen’s (2013) model of speech act of criticism. The findings show that both Persian and English-speaking users tended to use direct criticism over indirect criticism with an explicit expression of dislike and an explicit expression of disapproval as the most frequently used direct criticism strategies. Moreover, with regard to indirect strategies, Persian speaking users employed more request for change strategies while English speaking users outperformed hint strategies. Also, the uses of supportive moves and internal modifiers were similar in the two corpora. The findings of this naturally occurring observational study partially confirm the results obtained by elicited-based research method. The results showed that despite the similarities between the corpora, teaching criticism strategies and mitigating devices can help language learners perform the act of criticism more appropriately and avoid non-native like language use.


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