The Relationship Between Figurative Competence in L1 and L2: Focusing on Sarcasm in the Iranian EFL Context

Farideh Nazem, Saeed Taki


Understanding sarcastic language is often a great challenge to EFL learners. Hence, this study aimed at investigating Iranian EFL learners’ ability in identifying and interpreting instances of sarcasm both in their L1 (Persian) and L2 (English). To this end, 34 TEFL master’s students at Islamic Azad University of Shahreza participated in the study. They were asked to watch ten video clips from the American television sitcom Friends and ten video clips from the Persian Comedy Bitter Coffee (Ghahv-e Talkh). The data were collected through test sheets and descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyze the data. The analyses revealed no statistically significant correlation between the participants’ abilities to identify instances of sarcastic language in English and Persian. Participants also performed better in Persian than in English and used almost similar contextual cues in both languages to process instances of sarcastic language. Findings imply that pragmatic competence needs to be explicitly taught in EFL contexts.



sarcasm, pragmatic competence, figures of speech, EFL learners, figurative competence

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