Gender and Politeness in a Foreign Language Academic Context

Nahla Nola Bacha, Rima Bahous, Rula L. Diab


Theories and strategies of politeness and impoliteness are drawn upon to investigate underlying factors that might contribute to an understanding of differences among students and teachers towards politeness strategies. Classroom politeness in the present study is operationally defined according to various strategies or behaviors that the students in question draw upon in reacting to different situations. The study explores through a survey and a discourse completion test the degree of politeness the genders in an L1 Arabic context indicate to certain situations. Results show that the possible causes for the 'misunderstandings' and any perceived differences in 'impoliteness' between the genders are more 'cultural' rather than that of 'impoliteness' on the part of the students. Recommendations are made for program coordinators and teachers to deal with this issue in EFL classrooms along with future needed research.

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)   E-mail:

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