Forms of Address in Clerics’ Communication: A Comparative Study


Forms of address are among the most significant markers of social relations in a society. They are in fact complicated indicators of power relationships and politeness criteria in a community. Having such significance as its source of inspiration, this study investigates the influence of social context, level of intimacy and age of the addressee on the choice of address forms in Iranian clerics' speech community. In other words, the present paper first tries to show how these factors affect subjects' choice between familiar you, /to/, and differential you, /šoma/, in Persian. The findings of the study is then compared with those of Keshavarz(2001) to see if clerics speech community show different patterns for using address forms from those of Persian speakers at large. The results of the study indicated that these variables, although influential to some extent, were not noticeably so especially when the findings of this study were compared with those of Keshavarz. In fact, there were noticeable differences between clerics and non-clerics in their pattern of using address forms.