Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Employing Explicit Pragmatic Awareness-Raising Instruction on Advanced Efl Learners' Use of Politeness Strategy of Request Via E-Mails

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Employing Explicit Pragmatic Awareness-Raising Instruction on Advanced Efl Learners' Use of Politeness Strategy of Request Via E-Mails

Article excerpt

1. Background and purpose

E-mail has been one of the most widely used communication tools in recent years. It is an easy way to send and receive messages. It has many advantages including the speed of delivery, the low cost, the ability to send high volumes of content, and the ability to send an email to a lot of people simultaneously. Baron (1998) believes that what has led to its success is its convenience, marginal cost, speed of transmission and flexibility. Cameron (2003,p.29) pointed that email as a communication tool in general is increasingly characterized by 'a preference for directness over indirectness' and it has become one of the most acceptable means of communication to meet this purpose. People, especially students, use email for different purposes including communicating with faculty, getting advice, requesting information, exchanging information, asking for clarification, and contacting friends. Although e-mail is one of the newest and most-used communication methods, after talking and face-to-face communication, it seems that few people have ever learned how to use it effectively. It is also not used widely as the result of more mistakes, stress, and less productivity. There were two reasons for selecting this topic: first e-mail has become a frequently used interpersonal communication medium and it often serves as a requesting function, especially in institutional settings; second, according to Chen (2001) and Harrison (2002) e-mail provides naturalistic language data, which can be used to study learners' actual language performance in real life communication.

The first purpose of this research was to investigate the probable effects of explicit pragmatic awareness-raising instruction on the use of request politeness strategy by Iranian advanced EFL learners in emails. The second purpose of the study was to identify whether gender has any effect on employing requests by Iranian advanced EFL learners to the professors via email. The third purpose of the study was to investigate the requests strategies, the type of requests, and the degree of directness that the Iranian advanced EFL learners prefer or use in emails. The forth purpose of this research was to identify typical discourse organization and politeness strategies that the Iranian advanced EFL learners demonstrate in their e-mail requests to professors in English and also to find out what factors influence their choice of these linguistic politeness strategies used for requests.

Although e-mail is a very useful instrument in communication, it seems that its widespread use in academic and business settings has caused some new challenges and problems for students and writers. Because it is a relatively new form of communication, fundamental and primary social standards for writing and responding to e-mail such as politeness or directness, pragmatic, contexts, and coherent message should be developed and trained. Miscommunication can easily happen when people have different expectations about the e-mails that they send and receive. Email is used for many different purposes, such as getting advices, contacting friends, communicating with faculty and professors, requesting information, exchanging information, and asking for clarification. Depending on the purposes, the messages differ in their degree of formality, intended audience, and desired results. Writers sometimes ignore the social context and power relationship. Therefore, this ignorance leads to the neglect of special social standards required for writing emails effectively. There is a common insight among students that emails are unintentional and unplanned in terms of the use of informal language, symbols, vocabulary, grammar and syntax. Although emails have brought professors and students to a closer contact, removing some of the traditional obstacles between students and their professors, it has been led students write to their professors and supervisors using the language and style meant for their friends. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.