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The impact of face systems on the pragmalinguistic features of academic e-mail requests

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This study investigates the impact of power/distance (PD) variables operationalized as face systems on the pragmalinguistic features of academic e-mail requests. A corpus of 90 academic e-mails was classified into four face system groups: hierarchical (sender +P), hierarchical (recipient +P), deference, and solidarity. Request perspectives, strategies, and mitigating supportive moves were analyzed. The analysis revealed that the speaker and hearer dominance were the most frequent request perspectives in the hierarchical (recipient+P) and deference groups. The impersonal perspective was more common in the hierarchical (sender+P) group. The preparatory was the dominant request strategy in all groups, relatively more frequent in the hierarchical (recipient+P) and deference groups. The most common supportive move was the grounder, which occurred more frequently than other supportive moves. The findings of the study indicate that face systems influence the request patterns in academic e-mail communication. The study has implications for future research on pragmatics of computer-mediated communication (CMC).
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Keywords: computer-mediated communication (CMC); e-mails; face systems; power/distance (PD); requests

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 10, 2017

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