Publication details

Request strategies by Czech learners of English as a foreign language



Year of publication 2020
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Education

Description Since the notion of ‘communicative competence’ was coined by Hymes in 1972, the components of communicative competence have been refined by several scholars (Hymes, 1972; Canale & Swain, 1980; Bachman, 1990; Bachman & Palmer, 1996; Usó-Juan & Martínez-Flor, 2006). The paradigm of communicative competence has changed the trends in second language teaching and learning as well as in second language acquisition research. Therefore, the focus of interlanguage research has extended to the study of L2 learners’ pragmatic and discourse competence. The L2 performance of speech acts of requests has attracted considerable attention worldwide. However, how Czech learners realise their requests in English has not yet been investigated. This poster shows the findings of a study of the interlanguage pragmatic competence of Czech university students in making requests in English (L2). The aim of the study was to find the types of strategy (direct, conventionally indirect or nonconventionally indirect) and internal and external request modifications, and their frequency of use. Data were elicited using an open-ended written discourse completion task (WDCT) which contained five formal and five informal request scenarios, all designed with regard to the following variables: social distance and social status/power. An overwhelming majority of responses were classified as conventionally indirect requests in both data sets (formal and informal situations), while other strategies (direct or nonconventionally indirect) occurred rarely. Moreover, in most cases the participants opted for grounders as external request modifications – when providing explanations, reasons or justifications for their requests. As far as the internal request modification is concerned, the lexical downgrader please was employed most often, while among the syntactic downgraders, the conditional structure was used in most cases regardless of the above-mentioned two variables. The findings reveal that in their request performance, Czech learners of English as L2 tend to employ conventionally indirect strategy irrespective of the formality or informality of the situation, and that their use of modifications (both internal and external) is significantly limited.
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