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This study investigated the use of (im)politeness and disagreement in online discussion forums among English speakers and English as a foreign language (EFL) learners. It also explored how internet forum browsers judge (im)politeness and parameters of relational work ((in)appropriateness and negatively/positively marked behaviour) in disagreement. Three hundred and sixty disagreement responses were analysed following a list of disagreement strategies. The most frequent strategy applied by English speakers was 'making scornful and humiliating statements', while EFL learners used 'showing unmitigated disagreement' and 'showing smileys' as the highest and lowest ones. Most of the strategies used by English speakers were judged as polite and appropriate, but neither negatively nor positively marked, while 13 types of EFL strategies were considered as polite, but neither appropriate and positively marked nor inappropriate and negatively marked. Further, the three parameters had positive relationships with one another. This study provides worthwhile information for improving teaching communication skills in EFL courses.
Keywords: (Im)Politeness, disagreement, English as a foreign language learners, interactional and discursive approach, online forum
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