Sarcasm Is the Key: A Gender-Based Study of Impoliteness Strategies in Persian and American Comedy Series

Document Type : Research Article


1 Department of English, Shiraz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Shiraz, Iran

2 Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran


Having their own unique characteristics, interactions in everyday communications are categorized as culture-dependent and universal. Whereas politeness and impoliteness, in general, are universal characteristics of interactions, they are considered to be culture-sensitive and gender-based. Although in recent years there has been an increasing interest in impoliteness and gender, little attention has been paid to the relationship between them across cultures. Therefore, the current study set out to investigate different impoliteness strategies employed by Persian and American male and female characters of 2 popular comedy series. The Persian comedy was regarded as a facsimile of its American counterpart. Analysis of the series helped develop a comprehensive framework in relation to the functions of impoliteness strategies. Findings suggested that both Persian and American male and female characters used sarcasm as their key tool mostly to spoil and ridicule the hearer. Findings showed that American male and female characters do not speak completely differently; however, Persian male and female actors exploit sarcasm to circumvent the religious and cultural limitations.