The Request And Enquiry Production Strategies English Language Essay

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This chapter details the correlations in request and enquiry production strategies between native and Turkish speakers of English who have been living the UK for between 6 months and 3 years. Appropriateness, (in)directness and (im)politeness of the speech acts is considered, as well as the cultural and linguistic features that influence the results. Firstly, the head acts and supportive moves will be identified and compared for native and non-native speakers, then the head acts and supportive moves will be identified and compared for native and non-native speakers, and the all requests and enquiries will be assessed for appropriateness in terms of pragmatic competence, as well as grammatical and discourse competence.

Analysis of requesting techniques

Requesting head act strategies used by native speakers of English

Analysis of the native speaker request production data shows that these participants have used a wide variety of head act strategies out of the nine defined by Blum-Kulka et al. in the CCSARP Project. These are, in order of decreasing directness; mood derivable, explicit performative, hedged performative, locution derivable, scope stating, reference to preparatory conditions and strong hints. Table ??? shows the distribution of the head act strategies used by native speakers in request production.

Head Act

Number

Percentage

Preparatory

31

64.6

Scope stating

8

16.7

Strong hints

3

6.3

Mood derivable

2

4.2

Hedged performative

2

4.2

Explicit performative

1

2.1

Locution derivable

1

2.1

TOTAL

48

100

Table 1‑1 - Native Speaker head act strategies for request production

As can be seen from the above table, the most commonly used head act strategy by native speakers is the reference to preparatory conditions head act strategy corresponding to a percentage of 64.6 %. Speakers using this strategy confirm "the presence of the chosen preparatory condition" (Blum-Kulka et al. 1989, p.280), as such, the utterance questions ability, willingness or possibility. Typical structures of this head act include "Can… ?", "Could… ?", "Do you mind… ?" etc.

The second most commonly used head act strategy by native speakers of English is the scope stating strategy corresponding to a percentage of 16.7 %. In this strategy, the speaker expresses a desire for the act he/she is requesting to take place. Typical linguistic structures of this head act are "I would like to…", "I wish…"

Strong hints were the third most commonly used head act strategy corresponding to a percentage of 6.3 %. In this case, "the illocutionary intent is not immediately derivable from the locution; however, the locution refers to certain elements of the intended illocutionary act" (Blum-Kulka et al., 1989, p.279). Due to the non-conventional nature of this head act, no typical linguistic function is exhibited.

Mood derivable and hedged performative were the fourth most commonly used strategies for request production from native speakers corresponding to a percentage of 4.2 % each.

Finally, explicit performative and locution derivable were the least commonly used head acts corresponding to a percentage of 2.1 % each. The sample native speakers did not produce any requests containing mild hints or suggestory formula.

An example of each of the head act used is given Table ???

Head Act

Examples

Preparatory

Could you clean up the kitchen for me please? (NS13, R1)

Are you in a position to deliver? (NS4, R6)

Scope stating

I would like you to manage it (NS2, R6)

I was hoping that I could get a small extension (NS6, R4)

Strong hints

(5) Have a bit more respect for the flat (NS8, R1)

Mood derivable

(6) Confirm this is ok (NS19, R4)

Hedged performative

(7) I am writing to request an extension for my current course work (NS18, R4)

Explicit performative

(8) I request an extension to my assignment (NS3, R4)

Locution derivable

(9) You'll have to give me a hand clearing up (NS12, R1)

Table 1‑2 - Requesting head acts used by native speakers

Requesting head act strategies used by Turkish speakers of English

Analysis of the non-native, or Turkish, speaker request production data shows that these participants have also used a wide variety of head act strategies out of the nine defined by Blum-Kulka et al. in the CCSARP Project. These are, in order of decreasing directness; mood derivable, explicit performative, hedged performative, locution derivable, scope stating, reference to preparatory conditions and strong hints. Table ??? shows the distribution of the head act strategies used by non-native speakers in request production.

Head Act

Number

Percentage

Preparatory

46

61.3

Scope stating

21

28.0

Strong hints

5

6.7

Suggestory formula

1

1.3

Explicit performative

1

1.3

Mood derivable

1

1.3

TOTAL

75

100

Table 1‑3 - Non-native Speaker head act strategies for request production

An example of each of the head acts used is given Table ???

Head Act

Examples

Preparatory

Could you help me to clean a bit? (NNS3, R1)

Can you take care of this project for me? (NNS24, R6)

Scope stating

I want to ask you that could you please extend the date of finish for my submission. (NNS8, R4)

I want you to handle this one (NNS16,R6)

Strong hints

My mother is very sensitive about the cleanup to kitchen (NNS17, R1)

I think that could be a good opportunity for you to prove your project management skills (NNS11, R6)

Suggestory formula

We s(h)ould clean (NNS3, R1)

Explicit performative

I'm asking for an extension of my coursework if it is possible (NNS, R4)

Mood derivable

Get out of my sight now (NNS16 , R1)

Table 1‑4 - Requesting head acts used by non-native speakers

Comparison of requesting head act strategies used by native and non-native speakers

The results of the non-native speaker request production strategies are similar to those of native speakers in terms of preference of head act used; preparatory condition is the most common head act strategy used, followed by scope stating and then use of strong hints. The proportion of each group using each of these head acts is also very similar.

Percentage

Head Act

Native speakers

Non-native speakers

Preparatory

64.6

61.3

Scope stating

16.7

28.0

Strong hints

6.3

6.7

Mood derivable

4.2

1.3

Hedged performative

4.2

-

Explicit performative

2.1

1.3

Locution derivable

2.1

-

Suggestory formula

-

1.3

TOTAL

100

100

Table 1‑5 - Comparison of native and non-native head act strategies for request production

A comparison of the results shows that native speakers more readily use other types of head act strategies than preparatory and scope stating. 18.9 % of native speakers' request productions used other types of head act other than preparatory or scope stating, in comparison to 10.6 % of non-native speakers. The native speakers used five other head act strategies than the predominant two, whereas the non-native speakers used four other head act strategies, despite a slightly smaller sample group of native speakers. Another difference between the head act strategies used is that non-native speakers more frequently use scope stating head acts than native speakers.

Based of Levinson and Brown Politeness Theory, in order to measure the directness of the head act strategies used, each of the head acts were given a score depending on the directness of the head act. For example, mood derivable was allocated a score of 9, explicit performative a score of 8, and so on, with mild hints allocated a score of 1. Each of these values were multiplied by the percentage of the head act usage and summed to give a total score for directness. These scores are shown in Table ??? for native and non-native speakers' requests.

Head act (directness score)

Native speakers

Non-native speakers

Mood derivable (9)

47.4

12.0

Explicit performative (8)

14.0

10.7

Hedged performative (7)

36.8

0.0

Locution derivable (6)

10.5

0.0

Scope stating (5)

87.7

140.0

Suggestory formula (4)

0.0

5.3

Preparatory (3)

184.2

184.0

Strong hints (2)

14.0

13.3

Mild hints (1)

0.0

0.0

Directness

394.7

365.3

This shows that native speakers are more direct (directness score of 394.7) than non-native speakers (directness score of 365.3). From the table above, this seems to be due to the greater variance in head act strategies used by the native speakers that include the more direct approaches. As such, native speakers may come across as more direct and less polite during request production based on head act strategy alone.

Mitigating supportive moves used by native speakers during request production

Requests inherently threaten the negative face of the hearer since the speaker is imposing upon the hearer to perform the act of the request (Brown and Levinson, 1987) and consequently speakers use mitigating supportive moves to reduce the threat to the hearer's negative face. Supportive moves are phrases additional to the head act that may be placed before or after the head act. They are used by speakers to mitigate their requests by minimising the negative effect of the request on the hearer (Blum Kulka et al., 1989). Analysis of the mitigating supportive moves used by native speakers in conjunction with requesting head acts is detailed in this section. Table ??? shows the supportive moves used by native speakers in request productions.

Supportive Move

Number

Percentage

Grounder

34

52.3

Sweetener

16

24.6

Cost minimiser

8

12.3

Disarmer

7

10.8

TOTAL

65

100

Table 1‑6 - Native speaker distribution of supportive move usage in request production

The most commonly used mitigating supportive move for this study is the grounder corresponding to a percentage of 52.3 %. Grounders supply "reasons, explanations or justifications for his or her request, which may either precede or follow it" (Blum-Kulka et al., 1989, p.287). The values shown above are for total supportive move usage for all requests; however, there were significant differences in supportive move usage between the different tasks. For example, two of the request tasks did not provide any pre-populated utterance for the request and in these cases the proportion of grounder usage was significantly higher (see Table ??? - * is used to indicate the task with pre-populated utterance). However, as the non-native speakers were given the same tasks, the data is still comparable.

Supportive Move

R1

R4

R6*

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Grounder

9

100

20

60.6

5

21.7

Sweetener

-

-

1

3.0

15

65.2

Cost minimiser

-

-

6

18.2

1

4.3

Disarmer

-

-

6

18.2

2

8.7

TOTAL

9

100

33

100

23

100

Table 1‑7 - Native speaker supportive move distribution for different request tasks

The results for R1 show that 100 % grounder was used for supporting the request. However, only 9 out of the 20 participants used a supportive move for this request. The results for R4 show that, out of all the mitigating supportive moves for this request, 60.6 % of them were grounder. However, it should be noted that every participant provided a grounder, and in some cases additional supporting moves were used. The results for R6 show that 21.7 % of the supportive moves used for this request were grounder, this is because the grounding information was pre-populated in the DCT, if it had not been, the proportion of grounder used would be much higher. Also for this task, the justification for the request (to take on a project) was the skill of the hearer, as seen by the large proportion of sweetener used (65.2 %); however, this can arguably be taken as the grounder, or the justification, for the request. That being the case, the proportion of grounder usage would be significantly higher (86.9 %).

The second most commonly used mitigating supportive move is the sweetener corresponding to a percentage of 24.6 %. A sweetener aims to express "appreciation of the hearer's ability to comply with the request" (Blum-Kulka & Olshtain, ????, p.205) thus reducing the imposition on the hearer. However, as explained above, one of the tasks particularly prompted a sweetener to support the head act.

The third most commonly used supportive move is the cost minimiser with a corresponding percentage of 12.3 %. The use of cost minimisers gives "consideration of the 'cost' to the hearer involved in compliance with the request" (Blum-Kulka & Olshtain, ????, p.205). Finally, the fourth most frequently used supportive move is the disarmer, in which the potential offense of the hearer is considered by the speaker and possible refusal is anticipated (Blum-Kulka & Olshtain, ????).

Supportive move

Examples

Grounder

Do you mind clearing up the kitchen so I can get things ready? (NS19, R1)

I am having health problems at present, and may struggle to complete my assignment. Is it possible to have an extension of my coursework (NS5, R4)

Sweetener

As you are very good at project management, and it is a short deadline, I would like you to undertake this project (NS5, R6)

I think that you would be the ideal person to take this on (NS17, R6)

Cost minimiser

I think you are well suited for the type of project, but wasn't sure of your workload. Are you in a position to deliver? (NS4, R6)

I was hoping that I could get a small extension in order to complete the work to my full ability now that I am well again (NS6, R4)

Disarmer

Please let me know if this is alright or if you need to me provide you with any doctor's notes (NS16, R4)

Table 1‑8 - Examples of supportive moves used by native speakers

Table ??? shows examples of the mitigating supportive moves used by native speakers. Supportive moves may also be used in combination, and this was especially the case for the FCT email requests.

Mitigating supportive moves used by non-native speakers during request production

Table ??? shoes the mitigating supportive moves used by non-native speakers during request production. It can be seen that non-native speakers used five different types of mitigating supportive move, whereas the native speakers used four.

Supportive Move

Number

Percentage

Grounder

37

52.9

Sweetener

14

20.0

Disarmer

10

14.3

Cost minimiser

6

8.6

Preparator

3

4.3

TOTAL

65

100

Table 1‑9 - Non-native speaker distribution of supportive move usage in request production

The most commonly used supportive move by non-native speakers is the grounder corresponding to a percentage of 52.9 %. This is followed by sweetener with a corresponding percentage of 20.0 %. Disarmer, cost minimiser and preparatory are also used, with corresponding percentages of 14.3 %, 8.6 % and 4.3 % respectively.

Supportive Move

R1

R4

R6*

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Grounder

6

85.7

25

67.6

6

23.1

Sweetener

-

-

1

2.7

13

50.0

Cost minimiser

1

14.3

7

18.9

3

11.5

Disarmer

-

-

1

2.7

4

15.4

Preparator

-

-

3

8.1

-

-

TOTAL

7

100

37

100

26

100

Table 1‑10 - Native speaker supportive move distribution for different request tasks

Table ??? shows the supportive moves used per task. As discussed previously, task R6 prompted the use of a sweetener and as some of the utterance was pre-populated effectively giving a grounder, the use of additional grounders what not necessary.

Table ??? gives examples of the supportive moves used by non-native speakers during request production.

Supportive move

Examples

Grounder

I will be very happy if you could handle with it, it's an important project for our company (NNS1, R6)

Sweetener

I think you are best in this job. I don't want to take risks. Could you please undertake the project? (NNS20, R6)

Cost minimiser

So I want you to help me clean this up when you fresh yourself and get ready (NS12, R1)

Disarmer

I have got some minor health problems, I will try my best to finish the assignment on time but in case could I ask a few more days to extend my submit date please? (NNS1, R4)

Preparator

I 'm a student the in your university and I have lived dangerous health problems in last month. So I have report about my illness. But when I was a illness I couldn't try my homework and I was late. If you give any more time. I promise and prepare more beautiful its. Please, you can give some times. (NNS17, R4)

Table 1‑11 - Examples of supportive moves used by native speakers

Like the native speakers, non-native speakers also used supportive moves in combination, especially in FCTs.

Comparison of requesting mitigating supportive moves used by native and non-native speakers

The results of the non-native speaker request production strategies are similar to those of native speakers in terms of preference of mitigating supportive moves used; grounder is the most common head act strategy used, followed by sweetener. The proportion of each group using each of these head acts is also very similar (see Table ???).

Percentage

Supportive Move

Native speakers

Non-native speakers

Grounder

52.3

52.9

Sweetener

24.6

20.0

Cost minimiser

12.3

8.6

Disarmer

10.8

14.3

Preparator

-

4.3

TOTAL

100

100

Table 1‑12 - Comparison of native and non-native supportive moves for request production

A comparison of the results shows that non-native speakers more readily use other types of supportive move strategies than grounder and sweetener. 27.2 % of native speakers' request productions used other types of supportive moves other than grounder or sweetener, in comparison to 23.1 % of non-native speakers. The non-native speakers used three other mitigating supportive moves other than the predominant two, whereas the native speakers used two other supportive moves.

Analysis of enquiry techniques

Enquiring head act strategies used by native speakers of English

Enquiries have been analysed using the same basic method as for requests as they share many similar features. Analysis of the native speaker enquiry production data shows that these participants have used a wide variety of head act strategies out of the nine defined by Blum-Kulka et al. in the CCSARP Project, as well as an additional feature of language, namely, direct questions. These are, in order of decreasing directness; mood derivable, direct questioning (similar to explicit performative), scope stating, suggestory formula, reference to preparatory conditions and strong hints. Table ??? shows the distribution of the strategies used by native speakers in request production, including Blum-Kulka et al. head act strategies, as well as interrogative questions of the form "Do you know… ?", "What is… ?", "Who is… ?" etc.

Head Act

Number

Percentage

Preparatory

46

76.7

Interrogative questions

7

11.7

Strong hints

4

6.7

Scope stating

2

3.3

Suggestory formula

1

1.7

Mood derivable

1

1.7

TOTAL

60

101.7

Table 1‑13 - Native Speaker head act strategies for enquiry production

Several of the enquiry productions were a combination of a head act and a direct question; however, these productions have been treated separately for simplification of analysis. However, it is useful to note that whilst direct questions were used on their own for 10.0 % of responses, questions were used on their own or with a head act in 11.7 % of the responses.

The most commonly used strategy for enquiry productions is preparatory condition with a corresponding percentage of 76.7 %. The second most commonly used enquiry production method is the use of direct questions; for example "Do you know where I can get information about the courses?" corresponding to a percentage of 11.7 %. These were used as questions by themselves to produce the enquiry, or as a refinement of the information request as part of the enquiry. In terms of directness, these direct questions are similar to explicit performative requests.

The third most commonly used strategy for native speakers is the use of strong hints corresponding to a percentage of 6.7 %. This is followed by scope stating with a corresponding percentage of 3.3 %. Lastly, suggestory formula and mood derivable were used in 1.7 % of the enquiries each.

Examples of the head act strategies used for enquiries by native speakers is shown in Table ??? below.

Head Act

Examples

Preparatory

Please can you tell me more about the course? (NNS2, E2)

Interrogative questions

What does this mean? (NS9, E5)

Do you have any information on the course and how to apply ? (NS12, E2)

Strong hints

I was just looking for some information (NS9, E2)

Scope stating

I have just joined your company and would like some information as to your holiday policy (NS9, E8)

Suggestory formula

Perhaps you could give me some information to read up on it and some info on the medication I will need to take? (NS11, E5)

Mood derivable

Tell me more (NS14, E4)

Table 1‑14 - Enquiring head acts used by native speakers

Enquiring strategies used by non-native speakers of English

Examples of the head act strategies used for enquiries by native speakers is shown in Table ??? below.

Head Act

Number

Percentage

Preparatory

38

52.8

Interrogative questions

19

26.4

Scope stating

14

19.4

Strong hints

7

9.7

Mood derivable

1

1.4

TOTAL

72

109.7

Table 1‑15 - Non-native Speaker head act strategies for enquiry production

Several of the enquiry productions were a combination of a head act and a direct question; however, these productions have been treated separately for simplification of analysis. However, it is useful to note that whilst direct questions were used on their own for 16.7 % of responses, questions were used on their own or with a head act in 26.4 % of the responses. This indicates that non-native speakers prefer to use a combination of requesting head act with supporting questioning than native speakers.

The most commonly used strategy for enquiry productions is preparatory head act strategy with a corresponding percentage of 52.8 %. Whilst for requests the percentage of preparatory condition utterances was approximately the same as for native speakers, for enquiries this is significantly less.

The second most commonly used enquiry production method is the use of direct questions; for example "Do you know where I can get information about the courses?" corresponding to a percentage of 26.4 %. These were used as questions by themselves to produce the enquiry, or as a refinement of the information request as part of the enquiry. The percentage of questions used for enquiry productions is also significantly higher than for native speakers.

The third most commonly used strategy for non-native speakers is scope stating utterances corresponding to a percentage of 19.4 %. Additional strategies used by non-native speakers were strong hints and mood derivable head acts, corresponding to percentages of 9.7 % and 1.4 % respectively.

Head Act

Examples

Preparatory

Can I learn the details about the course please? (NNS1, E2)

Could you possibly let me know how many days of annual holiday I am entitled to and what the conditions are? (NNS21, E8)

Interrogative questions

Do you have any further information about the course? (NNS13, E2)

Do I have to be aware this disease? (NNS15, E5)

Scope stating

I'm afraid I don't have enough information about asthma; I'd be pleased if you could explain me briefly (NNS1, E5)

Strong hints

I'm afraid I don't know much about it (NNS8, E5)

Mood derivable

Tell me is asthma something like that or asthma is more likely something else? (NNS18, E5)

Table 1‑16 - Enquiring head acts used by non-native speakers

Comparison

Based of Levinson and Brown Politeness Theory, in order to measure the directness of the head act strategies used, each of the head acts were given a score depending on the directness of the head act. For example, mood derivable was allocated a score of 9, explicit performative a score of 8, and so on, with mild hints allocated a score of 1. Interrogative questions were given a directness score of 8, similar to explicit performative. Each of these values were multiplied by the percentage of the head act usage and summed to give a total score for directness. These scores are shown in Table ??? for native and non-native speakers' requests.

Head act (directness score)

Native speakers

Non-native speakers

Mood derivable (9)

14.8

11.4

Explicit performative (8)

0.0

0.0

Hedged performative (7)

0.0

0.0

Locution derivable (6)

0.0

0.0

Scope stating (5)

16.4

88.6

Suggestory formula (4)

6.6

0.0

Preparatory (3)

226.2

144.3

Strong hints (2)

13.1

17.7

Mild hints (1)

0.0

0.0

Question (8)

91.8

192.4

Directness

368.9

454.4

This shows that non-native speakers are more direct (directness score of 454.4) than non-native speakers (directness score of 368.9). From the table above, this seems to be due to the non-native speakers using a greater proportion of questions instead of and in support to head acts. As such, in terms of head act strategies alone, non-native speakers may come across as more direct and less polite than native speakers during enquiry production.

Mitigating supportive moves used by native speakers during enquiry production

Enquiries also inherently threaten the negative face of the hearer since the speaker is imposing upon the hearer to perform the act of the request (Brown and Levinson, 1987), namely the request for information or an enquiry. Speakers use mitigating supportive moves to reduce the threat to the hearer's negative face. However, due to the nature of enquiries, less imposition is caused to the hearer as a request for information is rarely imposing. Analysis of the mitigating supportive moves used by native speakers in conjunction with enquiring head acts is detailed in this section.

Table ??? shows the supportive moves used by native speakers in enquiry productions.

Supportive Move

Number

Percentage

Grounder

17

100.0

TOTAL

17

100

Table 1‑17 - Native speaker distribution of supportive move usage in enquiry production

The only mitigating supportive move used by native speakers for enquiry production is the grounder (100 %). Grounders supply "reasons, explanations or justifications for his or her request, which may either precede or follow it" (Blum-Kulka et al., 1989, p.287). The usage of grounders for each of the enquiry tasks is shown in Table ???.

Supportive Move

E2

E5

E8

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Grounder

0

0

1

100.0

16

100.0

TOTAL

0

0

1

100

16

100

Table 1‑18 - Native speaker supportive move distribution for different enquiry tasks

Table ??? shoes that in enquiry task E2, no supportive moves were used with the head act. In task E5, one grounder was used from a total of twenty participants and no other supportive moves. In task E8 (the email enquiry task), sixteen out of twenty participants used supportive act, namely grounder in every case.

The lack of use of supportive acts for enquiry productions is likely due to the minimal imposition to the hearer from enquiries or requests for information; as such the speaker tries less to mitigate the threat to the hearer's negative face than for requests. More supportive moves were used in enquiry task E8 as this was the email enquiry task and there is a tendency to write more in emails.

Supportive move

Examples

Grounder

I have recently joined the company and am not yet familiar with our annual leave entitlement. Please could you provide me with these details? (NS10, E8)

Table 1‑19 - Examples of supportive moves used by native speakers

Mitigating supportive moves used by non-native speakers during enquiry production

Table ??? shows the supportive moves used by native speakers in enquiry productions. It is noted that the non-native speakers used four different types of supportive move in conjunction with the head act, whereas native speakers only used one type, grounders.

Supportive Move

Number

Percentage

Grounder

28

87.5

Preparator

2

6.3

Sweetener

1

3.1

Cost minimiser

1

3.1

TOTAL

32

100

Table 1‑20 - Non-native speaker distribution of supportive move usage in enquiry production

The only mitigating supportive move used by native speakers for enquiry production is the grounder (100 %). Grounders supply "reasons, explanations or justifications for his or her request, which may either precede or follow it" (Blum-Kulka et al., 1989, p.287). The usage of supportive moves for each of the enquiry tasks is shown in Table ???.

Supportive Move

E2

E5

E8

Number

%

Number

%

Number

%

Grounder

5

100.0

2

100.0

21

84.0

Preparator

-

-

-

-

2

8.0

Sweetener

-

-

-

-

1

4.0

Cost minimiser

-

-

-

-

1

4.0

TOTAL

5

100

2

100

25

100

Table 1‑21 - Native speaker supportive move distribution for different enquiry tasks

Table ??? shoes that in enquiry task E2 and E5, the only supportive move used was the grounder. Overall, few supportive moves were used in responses of the 25 participants. In enquiry task E8, the email enquiry task, more supportive moves were used. The most commonly used supportive move was grounder with corresponding percentage of 84.0 %. The second most common supportive move used was the preparatory with a corresponding percentage of 8.0 %. Finally, sweetener and cost minimiser were used the least with a corresponding percentage of 4.0 % for each.

The lack of use of supportive acts for enquiry productions is likely due to the minimal imposition to the hearer from enquiries or requests for information; as such the speaker tries less to mitigate the threat to the hearer's negative face than for requests. More supportive moves were used in enquiry task E8 as this was the email enquiry task and there is a tendency to write more in emails.

Supportive move

Examples

Grounder

I don't know anything about course program and degree requirements. Can you explain me about course requirements and fees? (NNS15, E2)

Oh god, now I am scared of Asthma is something like Aids. Doctor, please tell me is asthma something like that or asthma is more likely something else? (NNS18, E5)

Preparator

I would like to learn company's holiday policy, I need to buy plane ticket to go to my country for holiday so can you explain me about holiday policy ? (NNS15, E8)

Sweetener

Can you please let me know what is the policy for the annual holiday entitlement of the University? I would like to plan my holidays accordingly so your answer will be very much appreciated (NNS7, E8)

Cost minimiser

Can I learn our company's annual holiday entitlement please? I'd like to make some plans and do not want to spoil our company's policies (NNS1, E8)

Table 1‑22 - Examples of supportive moves used by native speakers

Comparison

Non-native speakers use supportive moves more frequently than native speakers

Appropriateness of request and enquiry productions by native and non-native speakers

Tables ??? and ??? give the appropriateness ratings of each of the responses for each of the tasks within the DCT by native and non-native speakers. In order to complete a comparison between the native and non-native speaker's requests and enquiries, a percentage of appropriateness was derived for (a) each of the questions, (b) each of the speech acts (requests and enquiries), and (c) each of the groups of participants. These results are summarised in Table ???.

Table ??? showing the appropriateness rating of native speakers shows that native speakers are slightly better at producing appropriate enquiries (4.60) than requests (4.46); however, there is little difference in appropriateness between the two. The overall appropriateness for native speakers is 4.53. In both requests and responses, the appropriateness of the responses elicited from native speakers email responses (R4 and E8) were above the overall average for native speakers.

Native Speakers

Requests

Enquiries

R1

R4

R6

E2

E5

E8

NS 1

4

3

5

5

3

5

NS 2

5

5

5

5

5

5

NS 3

5

3

5

4

5

4

NS 4

5

4

5

4

5

4

NS 5

5

4

5

5

4

5

NS 6

5

5

4

4

5

5

NS 7

5

3

0*

4

4

5

NS 8

3

3

4

5

5

4

NS 9

5

4

4

4

5

5

NS 10

5

5

5

5

5

5

NS 11

4

4

5

5

5

5

NS 12

5

4

5

4

5

5

NS 13

4

4

5

5

4

4

NS 14

4

5

5

5

5

4

NS 15

4

4

5

5

4

4

NS 16

4

5

4

3

5

5

NS 17

4

5

5

5

4

5

NS 18

5

4

5

4

4

5

NS 19

5

4

4

4

5

5

NS 20

5

4

5

5

5

5

Mean appropriateness:

Per question

4.55

4.10

4.74

4.50

4.60

4.70

Per speech act

4.46

4.60

TOTAL

4.49

Table 1‑23 -

Table ??? showing the appropriateness rating of non-native speakers shows that non-native speakers are slightly better at producing appropriate requests (3.99) than enquiries (3.76); however, there is little difference in appropriateness between the two. The overall appropriateness for non-native speakers is 3.87. Please note that the zero value of appropriateness was removed from statistical analysis as the native speaker did not complete this task and it is assumed that the native speaker could answer it). In both requests and responses, the appropriateness of the responses elicited from non-native speakers email responses (R4 and E8) were above the overall average for non-native speakers.

Non-Native Seakers

Requests

Enquiries

R1

R4

R6

E2

E5

E8

NNS 1

4

4

4

3

4

3

NNS 2

3

5

4

4

5

5

NNS 3

3

2

2

2

4

2

NNS 4

4

5

5

4

4

5

NNS 5

1

3

4

5

3

2

NNS 6

5

3

4

4

4

4

NNS 7

4

5

5

4

5

5

NNS 8

4

5

4

3

3

4

NNS 9

3

4

4

4

4

4

NNS 10

4

5

4

4

5

4

NNS 11

4

4

5

4

4

5

NNS 12

4

3

5

4

3

3

NNS 13

4

4

5

4

4

4

NNS 14

4

4

4

4

5

5

NNS 15

5

3

2

4

3

4

NNS 16

2

4

4

3

2

0

NNS 17

3

2

3

2

1

3

NNS 18

5

5

4

2

4

5

NNS 19

5

4

4

4

5

4

NNS 20

5

5

5

3

4

5

NNS 21

4

4

3

4

5

5

NNS 22

5

5

5

4

5

5

NNS 23

4

3

4

3

3

0

NNS 24

4

4

5

3

4

5

NNS 25

5

4

4

4

4

5

Percentage appropriateness:

Per question

3.92

3.96

4.08

3.56

3.88

3.84

Per speech act

3.99

3.76

TOTAL

3.87Table 1‑24 -

Table ??? gives a comparison between the appropriateness of responses from native and non-native speakers. As seen below, the native speakers' responses are more appropriate (4.53) than non-native speakers (3.87). It is interesting to note that whilst native speakers' request productions were less appropriate (4.46) than their overall average (4.53), non-native speakers request productions were more appropriate (3.99) than their overall average (3.87). Conversely, native speaker's enquiry productions were more appropriate (4.60) than their overall average and non-native speakers' enquiry productions were less appropriate (3.76) than their overall average. This suggests that non-native speakers produce more appropriate requests than enquiries.

Native Speakers

Non-Native Speakers

Appropriateness

Relation to average

Appropriateness

Relation to average

R1

4.55

>

3.93

<

R4*

4.10

<

3.96

<

R6

4.74

>

4.08

>

Requests:

4.46

< total average

3.99

> total average

E2

4.50

<

3.56

<

E5

4.60

=

3.88

>

E8*

4.70

>

3.84

>

Enquiries:

4.60

> total average

3.76

< total average

Total:

4.53

3.87

Table 1‑25 -

Table ??? also shows that there were similarities in the relative appropriateness of certain answers between the two groups. For example, in request production, native and non-native speakers on average (average for requests) both gave more appropriate responses for R6 and less appropriate responses for R4. However, R1 responses vary with native speakers giving more appropriate responses and non-native speakers giving less appropriate responses. In enquiry productions, native and non-native speakers on average (average for enquiries) both gave more appropriate answers for E8 and less appropriate answers for E2. For E5, non-native speakers' responses were slightly more appropriate than average whilst native speakers' were the same as the average, this shows more similarity.

Table ??? shows the standard deviation, or a measure of the spread of values from the mean, of native and non-native speakers' responses in the DCTs. Overall, the non-native speakers produced the largest range of appropriateness levels for request and enquiry production corresponding to a standard deviation of 1.03. The standard deviation of the native speakers' response appropriateness is 0.37. For native speakers, the standard deviation of levels of appropriateness was greater for requests (0.65) than enquiries (0.56), whereas non-native speakers' standard deviation was greater for enquiries (1.13) than for requests (0.92).

Requests

Enquiries

Standard deviation

R1

R4

R6

E2

E5

E8

Native speakers

For each task (e.g. R1, R4, etc.)

0.60

0.72

0.45

0.61

0.60

0.47

For each speech act (requests/enquiries)

0.65

0.56

Total

0.37

Non-native speakers

For each task (e.g. R1, R4, etc.)

1.00

0.93

0.86

0.77

1.01

1.49

For each speech act (requests/enquiries)

0.92

1.13

Total

1.03

Table 1‑26 -

The results overall show that native speakers produce more appropriate utterances when producing requests and enquiries in English than non-native speakers. The standard deviation, or measure of spread of the results about the mean value, is vastly different between the native and non-native speakers' response appropriateness. The standard deviation for the native speakers is 0.37, in comparison to 1.03 for the non-native speakers. This is likely due to the broad range of proficiency levels amongst the non-native speakers

From studying the responses, it is indeed clear that there is a varied level of proficiency in English amongst the non-native speakers despite them all having been in the UK for between 6 months and 3 years. This is demonstrated in the two responses given below.

NNS 22

Dear Theresa,

My name is XXX and I am a student on the Management Studies Programme. I have been unwell recently due to swine flu. This has significantly affected the my progress with the coursework of Quantitative Analysis module taught by Professor Pong. I would like to request a formal extension of the deadline by one week. I can provide you with a Doctor's note if necessary. I look forward to your response.

Best regards

NNS 17

Hi,

I'm a student the in your university and I have lived dangerous health problems in last month. So I have report about my illness. But when I was a illness I couldn't try my homework and I was late. If you give any more time. I promise and prepare more beautiful its. Please, you can give some times. Thank you

It is not known how long the speakers have been learning English and what other aspects may have enhanced or hindered their English development. The levels of exposure to English since residing in the UK may also be varied, depending on the level of English communication required on a daily basis. The more proficient English speakers amongst the Turkish group are able to achieve the maximum score in terms of appropriateness, but for others, grammar and vocabulary gave a reduction in their scores.

In Tables ??? and ??? above, the ratings have been shaded from the least appropriate (the darkest) to the most appropriate (the lightest) and this gives and indication of the more proficient speakers of English (NNS7, NNS 22). The least proficient speakers are also apparent (NNS 3, NNS 16, NNS 17). Consistency in the appropriateness rating is also apparent, for example, in the case of NNS 3, the scores are similar for each task.

On the other hand, the native speakers English language skills are, in effect, fully developed; this is seen in a greater similarity of scores.

Difficulty in request and enquiry email production

The graphs below plots the difficulty of the non-native speaker in completing the request and enquiry emails against the appropriateness of the utterance. The size of the circle indicates the frequency of the result. A trend line has been added to both plots to establish any correlation between the two.

Both graphs show that the appropriateness of the utterance increased as the difficulty reduced. This is more apparent in the graph for enquiry productions as the increase in appropriateness with reduction in difficulty is much greater than for requests. On average, the non-native speakers found it easier to produce email requests (2.25) than enquiries (2.44).

As the non-native speakers find it more difficult to produce enquiries on the whole, this may explain why a reduction in difficulty gives a larger increase in appropriateness.

Figure 1‑1 - Correlation between difficulty and appropriateness for email requests

Figure 1‑2 - Correlation between difficulty and appropriateness for email enquiries

Enquiries

1.5 Research Questions

 

1.      What request and inquiry strategies are used by Turkish speakers of English who have been living in the UK for between 6 months and 3 years?

2.      How do the English and Turkish native speakers' request and inquiry productions differ in terms of appropriateness, (im)politeness, and (in)directness?

3.      What cultural and linguistic features influence the production and application of requests and inquiries?

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