A study of the intercultural communicative competence and the effects of cultural familiarity on reading comprehension based on ethnicity


  • Elnaz Khataee

    Department of English Language and Literature, Arak University

  • Hamidreza Dowlatabadi

    Department of English Language and Literature, Arak University




As an academic endeavor in an EFL setting especially in the field of reading comprehension, this study intended to examine intercultural communicative competence (ICC) and the effects of cultural familiarity on reading comprehension based on two specific ethnicities (Turk and Fars). To this end, participants, 130 EFL students majoring in English, were chosen from three universities in Iran. The effects of cultural familiarity on students' reading comprehension were examined by utilizing two types of processes, providing relevant background knowledge and text nativization. These two processes were used as two separate treatments for the members of the experimental groups. Members of both control and experimental groups subsequently received reading comprehension tests. Then, to elicit ICC levels, the participants were asked to complete ICC Questionnaire. The statistical analysis of the data revealed the significantly positive effect of cultural familiarity on the reading comprehension performance of both Turk and Fars experimental groups and no significant difference was observed between the reading comprehension performance and ICC level of the ethnic groups of Fars and Turks. The present study emphasizes the facilitating and positive effect of cultural familiarity on the reading comprehension of specific ethnic groups and suggests that cultural familiarity can be a valuable tool for enhancing reading comprehension and promoting language performance and cultural competence of Iranian EFL learners. Therefore, due to the importance of teaching culture in the field of English language teaching, there should be much more attention to cultural and intercultural matters when designing a language curriculum.


cultural familiarity; ethnicity; intercultural communicative competence; reading comprehension


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