Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Irene Appelbaum, Leora Bar-el
Interlanguage pragmatics, speech acts, request, academic, email
University of Montana
Semantics and Pragmatics
This thesis presents an analysis of pragmatic features of email request composite parts: email openings and closings, request Head Acts, and supportive moves elicited from native speakers (NSs) and non-native speakers (Non-NSs) of English, in two different email request situations. The two email request situations in this study have different levels of imposition, where the email request in situation 1 is considered more of an imposition than the email request in situation 2. It is thus expected that email requests in situation 1 would exhibit more politeness features than email requests in situation 2.
Analysis of the email request composite parts in this study, however, revealed that neither NSs nor Non-NSs used more politeness features in the email request in the situation of higher imposition than in the situation of lower imposition. This finding suggests that the participants see the imposition in both email request situations as similar. Another possible explanation is that the social power and social distance of the speaker and the hearer could be more significant factors that trigger the use of different linguistic devices in email requests.
The analysis of the email request composite parts in this study also shows that non-native speakers of English approximate native-like proficiently is their use of appropriate request strategies, and supportive moves that elaborate the request Head Act externally. On the other hand, Non-NSs tend to use fewer syntactically and lexically complex internal modifications and slightly more formal email openings and closings in both email request situations. Following Hardford and Bardovi-Harlig (1996), I suggest that Non-NS email requests in this study that contain fewer syntactically and lexically complex internal modifications may be judged as rude or inappropriate by faculty recipients, leading to their desire not to fulfill the request. I also suggest that the fact that Non-NSs tend to use slightly more formal email openings and closings in both email request situations may lead some professors to perceive their requests as more imposing that NSs email requests.
Additionally, the analysis shows that in both email situations, NSs tended to follow the expected request perspective and also maintain a lower level of coerciveness whereas Non-NSs tended to conform to the expected request perspective, but to disregard the level of request coerciveness. As a result, Non-NS email requests might be perceived as more imposing than NS email requests.
Tytar, Karyna, "Comparative Analysis of Email Request Strategies Used by Native and Non-native Speakers of English in Academic Settings" (2015). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 4435.
© Copyright 2015 Karyna Tytar