An investigation into the use of speech acts and language functions in Iranian high school English textbooks

Author/s:

Roohani, Ali
Shahrekord University, Iran (roohani.ali@gmail.com)

Alipour, Javad*
Shahrekord University, Iran (alipour.edu@gmail.com)

Abstract:

Criticism has been leveled against English textbooks on the grounds that they often fail to provide classroom learners with adequate opportunities for learning authentic language (Vellenga, 2004). This could be due to the fact that, instead of making use of authentic language samples native speakers produce, many textbooks draw on native speakers’ intuitions about language use, which might not always be reliable. This study investigated the use of speech acts presented in Iranian high school English Textbooks I, II, and III. To this end, speech acts in the conversations segments of these books were analyzed from the perspective of Searle’s (1976) speech act model and Lakoff’s (1973) view of politeness. The results revealed that there were, in total, 298 instances of speech acts used in high school textbooks. It was also found that language functions in these books are presented unequally and some of them recur throughout the books, with no specific pattern being followed. Since high school English textbooks in Iran are not communication-oriented, it was concluded that these books cannot possibly develop pragmatic competence in language learners.

Keywords: speech acts; language functions; high school English textbooks; politeness

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5861/ijrsll.2016.1432

*Corresponding Author