A SOCIO-PRAGMATIC STUDY OF THE USE OF REQUESTS IN ENGLISH BY TUNISIAN EFL LEARNERS

Imen Aribi

Abstract


The present study investigates the request behaviour of Tunisian EFL learners (TEFLL). For this purpose, the data were collected using a discourse completion test (DCT). Accordingly, 67 female masters’ students studying at the Faculty of Letters and Humanities in Sfax (Tunisia) were asked to respond in English to six different situations in which they carried out the speech act of request. The data were analyzed by focusing on the directness level of requesting strategies according to the analytical framework of Blum-Kulka, et al (1989).

A quantitative analysis of the data showed that the participants perform different request strategies (direct and conventionally indirect according to the social factors (social distance, social power and ranking of imposition) which are very influential in the choice of polite request strategies by TEFLL.   The results revealed that, when requests are addressed to people in lower positions, TEFLL tend to use more direct request strategies in performing their request. The findings have also shown that TEFLL prefer to use conventionally indirect strategies in addressing their acquaintances and friends when the ranking of imposition is very high.  On the other hand, when the requestee is in a higher position, TEFLL use more indirect strategies to show their respect and deference. Indirect request or negative politeness strategies are used to protect both of the requester and the requestees’ faces. The study has shown that TEFLL responses are influenced by their linguistic and cultural backgrounds; thus, it is suggested that Tunisian learners of English should be aware of the socio-cultural and pragmatic differences between their L1 (Tunisian Arabic) and English learnt as a foreign language.



Keywords


politeness; request strategies; directness; social distance; social power; ranking of imposition

Full Text: PDF

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

ISSN 2045-4031. University of Central Lancashire 2010-2013.