ERIC Number: ED383223
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
American vs. European Requests: Do Speakers Use the Same Strategies?
This study investigated similarities and differences in the requesting behavior presented by American and European speakers in English and Spanish. Two specific research questions were addressed: (1) whether European or American speakers and native or non-native speakers use the same request strategies in English and Spanish; and (2) whether European or American speakers and native or non-native speakers modify their requests in the same way by using mitigating supportives. Subjects were 106 students at the University of the Basque Country (Spain), 29 Americans and 78 Europeans with various first languages (Swedish, Spanish, Norwegian, Italian, French, Greek, Danish, German, Portuguese). Data were obtained with a general background questionnaire and a discourse completion test. Results indicate that although the conventionally indirect strategy is generally preferred, Americans use more direct and less conventionally indirect strategies than European speakers in English. Americans also use fewer mitigating supportives in both English and Spanish. These characteristics produce an effect of directness in American speech. The English used by Europeans shows pragmatic characteristics closer to those of British English than American English. In Spanish requests, the pattern emerging is the opposite of that in English requests: learners use the conventionally indirect strategy less often than native speakers, and use fewer mitigating supportives. Contains 35 references. (MSE)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Conference on Pragmatics and Language Learning (9th, Urbana, IL, March 1995).