Volume 29, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0929-998X
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9765
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Using the methodology of Grounded Theory, this study aims to identify and analyze the perceptions and functions of self-denigration in dissertation defenses. The data comprises transcripts of two focus group discussions and the disputation sections of a corpus of 53 applied linguistics doctoral defense sessions gathered from 14 Iranian state universities between 2019 and 2021. The findings suggest that self-denigration depends to a great extent on the role of the participants in a disputation, and it is used before or after a criticism or a response to criticism. The analysis of the data revealed that self-denigration as a sign of respectfulness and modesty in a defense contributes to social decorum, diffidence, coercive self-deprecation, contrived modesty, or flamboyance. This study highlights the importance of self-denigration in the oral academic discourse of EFL defense sessions and has pedagogical implications for oral academic literacy practices.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Academic discourse; Doctoral defense; EFL; Grounded theory; Politeness; Self-denigration
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