2024 : 5 : 23
Hamid Reza Dowlatabadi

Hamid Reza Dowlatabadi

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7763-6678
Education: PhD.
ScopusId: 57188754727
Faculty: Literature and Languages
Address: Arak University


A Study of the Intercultural Communicative Competence and the Effects of Cultural Familiarity on Reading Comprehension based on Ethnicity: An Investigation through the Lens of Schema Theory as a Theoretical Framework in the Iranian EFL Context
Keywords: cultural familiarity; ethnicity; intercultural communicative competence; reading comprehension, schema theory
Researchers ٍElnaz Khataii(Student)، Hamid Reza Dowlatabadi(PrimaryAdvisor)


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 & Fars) through the lens of schema theory as a theoretical framework. 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 was examined by utilizing two types of processes, text nativization and providing relevant background knowledge. These two processes were used as treatments to activate and build upon students' existing schemas and facilitate their comprehension of cultural texts. 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 data revealed the significantly positive effects 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 Turk. The study's questionnaire data also suggested that cultural familiarity and exposure to intercultural experiences can contribute positively to the development of EFL learners’ ICC. The findings highlighted the importance of integrating cultural knowledge and awareness into language education, and the participants expressed positive attitudes toward the use of cultural familiarity in reading comprehension. Overall, the results of the study suggest that cultural familiarity can be a valuable tool for enhancing reading comprehension and promoting language and cultural competence of Iranian EFL learners. Therefore, the present study highlights the significant and positive impact of cultural familiarity on the reading comprehension of specific ethnic groups. These findings emphasize the importance of incorporating cultural and intercultural factors in the design of language curricula. As culture is an inseparable aspect of language, language teachers should pay more attention to cultural issues and intercultural competence development in language teaching. The study's results signify the value of cultural familiarity in enhancing reading comprehension skills and promoting the development of language and cultural proficiency of EFL learners.