Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Second Language Studies

First Advisor

Felice Coles

Second Advisor

Tamara Warhol

Third Advisor

Vance Schaefer


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



This study investigates the politeness strategies employed by Saudi EFL teachers when expressing their disagreements on Twitter. It examines the factors affecting Saudi EFL teachers' choice of politeness and disagreement strategies. It compares Saudi EFL teachers' disagreement expressions with those of American ESL teachers on Twitter. Four instruments were utilized to collect the data: retrieving the corpus of tweets, observing the thread of tweets (for Saudi EFL and American ESL teachers), using an open-ended questionnaire, and follow-up interviews (for Saudi EFL teachers). This study finds that the on-record strategy was the most frequently used among Saudi EFL teachers, as found in the corpus and thread of tweets. However, Saudi EFL teachers employed negative politeness more than positive politeness strategies in the corpus of tweets. At the same time, they utilized positive politeness more than negative politeness strategies in the thread of tweets. The main factors influencing Saudi EFL teachers when expressing their disagreements on Twitter are the severity of the topic, linguistic proficiency, and the differences in cultural norms between their first and target languages. Also, this study finds that Saudi EFL and American ESL teachers were similar in their performances of disagreements; they employed aggravated disagreements the most in the corpus of tweets, whereas they frequently used disagreement nor mitigated or strengthened in the thread of tweets. In contrast, Saudi EFL and American ESL teachers differ in their employment of the politeness strategies; Saudi EFL teachers performed positive and negative politeness strategies, while American ESL teachers employed mostly positive politeness and rarely used negative politeness strategies. This study calls for further examination of disagreements to extend the pragmatics literature of disagreement speech acts across languages and cultures. This study recommends integrating adequate pragmatic knowledge in EFL textbooks in Saudi schools. This study aims to contribute to the fields of sociopragmatics and CMC.


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