Document Type : Research article


1 Associate Professor. English Department, Faculty of Letters and Humanities, Shahrekord University, Shahrekord, Iran

2 Master of English Language Teaching, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Shahrekord University


Politeness plays an important role in ini­tiated e-mail requests sent from students to faculty. One such feature of requests susceptible to politeness is the degree of imposition, which is one of the important variables in speech act production. Although the literature on requests is abundant, there are few studies on low- and high-imposition requests, in general, and on Iranian L2 learners’ low- and high-imposition requests, in particular. Through analyzing L2 learners’ requests, this study was an attempt to explore the distribution of pragmalinguistic means when writing English e-mail requests with low- and high degrees of imposition. For the purpose of this study, a corpus of 208 e-mail requests was collected for a rigorous qualitative analysis. The e-requests were classified into 4 categories: information, validation, feedback, and action. They were, then, coded and analyzed. It appeared that, though similar in many ways, the distribution of request type, openings, head act strategies, and internal and external modifiers were relatively conditioned by the degree of imposition. The findings can have valuable resources for future studies of potential interlanguage pragmatics studies, which are concerned with L2 learners’ performance and pragmatic competence in L2 learning.


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