Email Greeting and Farewell Formulas in English and Arabic: A Contrastive Study

Author: Sa'ida Walid Al-Sayyed

Keywords: Contrastive Analysis, Email Communication, Opening Formulas, Farewell Formulas, English and Arabic


This paper reports on the findings of a contrastive study that investigates email opening and farewell formulas used in two languages, namely, Arabic and English. The sample of the study comprised 100 Arabic and 100 English academic emails. The English data was drawn from the researchers’ mail inboxes while the Arabic data was drawn from the mail inbox pertaining to the Ministry of Education. The results showed that ‘greeting word only’ and ‘no opening formula’ were the highest in the Arabic emails. For farewell formulas, a ‘thanks only’ cliché registered the highest among the other formulas followed by ‘no closing formula’. As for English email opening formulas, three formulas were used in initiating an email, such as ‘greeting and name’, ‘greeting word only’ and ’greeting and title’. Concerning the farewell formulas, the results showed that email users tended to use ‘leave-taking, name and last name’ and ‘leave-taking only’. The results showed that there was a one-to-one correspondence between the farewells of both languages, unlike the greeting formulas, which do not have an exact one-to-one correspondence between the two languages.