A Contrastive Study of Request Speech Act in English and Persian Novels: Natural Semantic Metalanguage Approach

Document Type : Research Paper


Department of English, Falavarjan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran


The Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) Approach claims that there are some universalities in all languages. Speech acts seem to be present in all languages, but considering this approach, research has not indicated whether request speech act differs from one language to another. Thus, this study intended to investigate whether request strategies are used differently in English and Persian romantic novels and whether Natural Semantic Metalanguage Approach can be considered in English and Persian requests. To reach these objectives, the corpus consisting of two English and Persian romantic novels were used. It was analyzed using Blum-Kulka and Olshtain (1984)’s classification. Results indicated that mood derivable was the most frequent request strategy in both novels. Moreover, a statistically significant difference was not observed between request strategies in English and Persian romantic novels and thus the Natural Semantic Metalanguage Approach can be considered in English and Persian requests. The conclusion drawn is that considering the applicability of this approach, both American and Iranian native speakers can presumably use imperative structures, with the politeness marker please or without it, as a request strategy, when the interlocutors are close friends or members of the same family.


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  • Receive Date: 14 February 2019
  • Revise Date: 19 April 2019
  • Accept Date: 05 July 2019
  • First Publish Date: 01 December 2019