Cyber-communic@tion etiquette

Abbas Mehrabi Boshrabadi (Department of English, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan, Iran)
Sepideh Bataghva Sarabi (Department of English, Mashhad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Mashhad, Iran)

Interactive Technology and Smart Education

ISSN: 1741-5659

Publication date: 20 June 2016



Research has shown that the discursive patterns students use in their email interactions with their teachers are not linguistically and socio-culturally appropriate. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to try to explore how socio-cultural conventions influence the Iranian English as a foreign language (EFL) learners’ choices of discourse strategies in their email communications within an academic context. The study, then, investigates the impact of social distance and gender on the stylistic features of students’ email texts.


The email texts written by 180 university students majoring in Applied Linguistics were systematically analyzed based on such patterns as opening and closing moves, reduced forms, text connectives, symbolization and emoticons. Alternatively, three semi-structured interviews were conducted to gauge the participants’ motives underlying the selection of particular discourse features.


The findings revealed that students, despite many statements to the contrary, were aware of the socio-cultural conventions governing email writing style and could write status-appropriate email messages, which rightly reflected the etiquette of email communication within an academic context.

Practical implications

The findings may offer certain benefits to EFL teachers and students.


The paper highlights understanding of a specific social group in relation to their interaction with different status social groups in the context of a specific communication technology and to some extent the perceived effectiveness of such approaches by those invoking them.



Mehrabi Boshrabadi, A. and Bataghva Sarabi, S. (2016), "Cyber-communic@tion etiquette", Interactive Technology and Smart Education, Vol. 13 No. 2, pp. 86-106.

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