NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Back to results
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1041443
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0167-8507
Mitigating E-Mail Requests in Teenagers' First and Second Language Academic Cyber-Consultation
Alcón Soler, Eva
Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, v32 n6 p779-799 Nov 2013
The study analyses teenagers' e-mail requests during academic cyber-consultation, exploring how the performance of request modifiers is influenced by participants' perceptions of the degree of imposition of the speech act and social distance with the recipient. A total of 295 e-mail requests, 145 produced by British English speakers (BES) and 150 performed by International English speakers (IES), were randomly selected from all the e-mail requests that International Baccalaureate students sent to their learning mentor between September and December 2011. They were analysed with regard to the use of internal and external request mitigators and participants' judgments of the degree of request imposition and social distance with the e-mail recipient. Results of the study show that participants do not frequently rely on mitigators, but whenever they perceive the need to mitigate the request, pragmatic variation is observed between BES and IES. Thus, when the request is perceived as demanding, BES activate their pragmalinguistic knowledge and use a wider range of internal modifiers (both lexical and syntactic). In contrast, IES seem to lack pragmalinguistic knowledge to soften the request. Finally, although teenagers do not perceive their relationship with their learning mentor as one of +social distance, BES and IES show variation in their choice of form of address. Findings from the study suggest the need to incorporate training on e-mail politeness in future pragmatics-based pedagogical interventions.
De Gruyter Mouton. Available from: Walter de Gruyter. P.O. Box 960, Herndon, VA 20172-0960. Tel: 800-208-8144; Tel: 703-661-1589; Fax: 703-661-1501; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England)