Document Type : Research Paper


Razi University of Kermanshah


This paper investigated the ways Iranian B.A and M.A students of English language and their professors represent themselves linguistically in their e-mails in general, and the ways they construct and negotiate power with regard to social and cultural norms in particular. It examined 84 e-mail messages students and professors exchanged in 2012-2013 academic year through Halliday`s Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) and components of critical discourse analysis (CDA).  Both parties actively used e-mails to create and maintain interpersonal relationship with each other in different ways. They mainly relied on material and mental processes to convey their meanings and thoughts and felt free in the selection and manipulation of thematic elements in their writings. With regard to the construction and negotiation of power it was also revealed that both parties reconstructed and recontextualized (Bernstein, 1971) discourses and practices of the traditional classrooms prescribed by their social, cultural, and religious norms in internet context. The findings of this study will shed light on the contributions of power relations, social and cultural norms as well as other related factors in the process of communication between professors and students. Such critical functional approach has a powerful impact on students and instructors in their professional learning contexts and offers instructors in internet contexts explicit ways of recognizing and valuing differences in the language students use to respond in those contexts.


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