The Use of Address Forms in Iranian Religious Discourse: The Case of People in Different Social Classes of Iran

By Molavi, Ahmad; Afghari, Akbar | Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods, June 2013 | Go to article overview

The Use of Address Forms in Iranian Religious Discourse: The Case of People in Different Social Classes of Iran


Molavi, Ahmad, Afghari, Akbar, Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods


Abstract

In any social class, nature and types of relationships of the society members are mainly manifested through their language. Accordingly, terms and modes of address are important in the society for the purposes of identification and expression of ideas. This study aimed at determining whether people in the religious class (namely clergies) included in the context of research were different from those in the other social classes (nonclergies) that is, higher social and lower social class members regarding the use of religious address terms or not. In order to do so the researchers chose 90 males and females belonging to religious, higher social and lower social class contexts of Isfahan which is a major city in the center of Iran through live and telephone interviews as their samples by random sampling method. The results indicated differences between the religious (clergies) and the other social classes in using religious address terms for both males and females.

Keywords: Terms of address, Religious Context, Clergies, Social class

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

Introduction

In every communication activity opening, improving, maintaining and closing this event is very important. Therefore, the study of address terms is of great importance in different speech communities. A variety of social factors governs the choice of terms among them the particular occasion, the social status or rank of the addressee, sex, age, familial relationship, occupational hierarchy, economical status, race, or degree of intimacy of the persons involved in communicative situations are more prominent. But choosing the right terms of address to use may not always be easy. Since prehistory, all societies have perceived hierarchy among their members. Among leaders and followers, strong and weak, rich and poor, social classifications are universal. Humans have invented numerous ways to classify people by wealth, power, or prestige; by ability, education, and occupation; even by the place of residence.

Belonging to a social class is not merely an objective fact, but is generally accompanied by a perception of class identity. In this sense, social class is not merely a personal attribute, but also a contextual variable that characterizes a group of people. Therefore social class can even influence health. Centuries of observations have linked social class to patterns of disease.

Selection of address terms have been the concern of sociolinguistics studies during the past decades. Yule (2006) asserts that address term is a word or phrase for the person being talked to or written to. Research on the use of address terms in the past decades, beginning with the classical study of Brown and Gilman (1960), has focused on the social dimensions of address terms, primarily, on issues of solidarity, power, and formality. Esmae'li (2011) investigated the impact of social context on the different usage of address terms (first name "FN", pet name "PN", and respect name "RN") according to distinctive contexts between spouses (1. together alone, 2. in the presence of children), and 3. in the presence of husband/wife's parents). He collected the required data through interview and a questionnaire on 200 participants which were selected according to researcher's criteria: being married and having children).

Wardhaugh (2006) notes that a variety of social factors usually governs our choices of address terms. Among these social factors are the particular occasion, the social status or rank of the other, sex, age, family relationships, occupational hierarchy, transactional status, and the degree of intimacy. Afful (2006) in a study of address terms examined the use of descriptive phrases as a form of address terms by students in a Ghanaian public university. Analysis of those address terms suggested the warm and convivial nature of African culture, even in an institutional setting. Afful (2007) in another study investigated address terms usage among university students in Ghana. …

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