Sincerity of Ta’arofs Across Genders in Persian Language: A Cognitive Approach

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Candidate, Linguistics Department, Tarbiat Modares University

2 Associate Professor, Linguistics Department, Tarbiat Modares University

3 Assistant Professor, Linguistics Department, Tarbiat Modares University

4 Assistant Professor, Center for Persian Language and Literature Researches, Tarbiat Modares


This paper deals with the sincerity of Persian language Ta’arofs across genders. The sincerity is evaluated by means of cultural schemas. Data that is gathered from different conversational contexts and Iranian films is analyzed by conversation analysis method. Using emic approach, the researchers identify fifteen underlying cultural schemas for Persian Ta’arofs and represent a model. To fulfill this aim, the Ta’arofs with similar illocutionary forces are identified and classified as cultural micro-schemas. Each class is given a title and the first encoding is done. To make sure about the validity of the classifications two inter-raters are employed. Then the concepts which are considered as the basis for these micro-schemas in Iranian culture are identified and labeled as macro-schemas. The Ta’arofs are evaluated in questionnaires in terms of sincerity they are associated with across genders. Ta’arofs and their contexts are presented in the questionnaire and the subjects are asked to evaluate the sincerity of Ta’arofs. Ta’arofs are chosen from both genders’ conversations equivalently and distributed in the questionnaire with different cultural schemas. The evaluation of data demonstrates that despite the common belief that men’s Ta’arofs are more sincere than women’s, there wasn’t any significant difference between their degrees of sincerity. Moreover, considering that the most and the least sincere Ta’arofs belong to women, we can say that the range of sincerity of Ta’arofs is wider in women than in men. The underlying micro-schemas of the most sincere Ta’arofs in women and men are respectively sympathy (Hamdeli) and compliment (Tahsin); and, the underlying micro-schemas of the least sincere Ta’arofs are respectively hospitality (Mehmannavazi) and Shekastehnafsi in women and men. Although the underlying micro-schemas of the most (in) sincere Ta’arofs are different in the two genders and reflect social and psychological differences between them, the underlying macro-schemas obey the notion of distributive cognition.


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Volume 10, Issue 1
June 2019
Pages 21-37
  • Receive Date: 09 September 2018
  • Revise Date: 16 October 2018
  • Accept Date: 19 January 2019
  • First Publish Date: 22 June 2019