A Comparative Study of the Use of Disagreement Strategies Among Iranian EFL Learners and Native Speakers of English

Seyyed Mohammad Hassan Sadrameli, Hamid Reza Haghverdi


This study aimed to explore the similarities and differences between Iranian EFL learners and English native speakers in terms of the pattern of using different disagreement strategies in relation to people with different social power status. To this end, 90 participants, including 30 Iranian university students majoring in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), 30 native English speakers, and 30 native speakers of Persian with no English proficiency were selected to fill out a discourse completion test (DCT). The DCT was comprised of scenarios simulating natural situations in order to elicit the respondents’ reactions while disagreeing with people of higher, equal and lower status. To analyze the responses, Muntigl and Turnbull's (1998) taxonomy for classifying disagreement strategies was used and the strategy tokens for each type of disagreement were tallied and recorded. The results of descriptive analysis of the data revealed that the Persian native speakers used direct contradictions more than the EFL learners and English native speakers who participated in the current study, whereas the English native speakers used counterclaims and contradictions followed by counterclaims more than their EFL and Persian native counterparts. That is, the English native speakers were more concerned with saving their interlocutors' positive face while expressing disagreement with people of higher, equal, and lower status. Besides, the findings of the study implied that despite the variation between the three groups of participants in terms of their preferences for using different disagreement strategies, the only significant difference was found with respect to disagreement with people of equal status.


disagreement strategies, Iranian EFL learners, pragmatics, English native speakers

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2016 Journal of Applied Linguistics and Language Research