Requests by Chinese EFL learners and native speakers of English
The case of formulaic expressions
Keywords:requesting, discourse completion task, language learning, pragmatic competence
Language learners' requesting behaviour has been the focus of pragmatic research for some time, including that of Chinese EFL learners, who constitute a large proportion of English speakers globally. The present study replicates elements of Wang (2011), focusing on the use of formulaic expressions and exploring the differences between advanced Chinese EFL learners and native speakers of English with regard to the use of request formulae. The study also investigates whether significant exposure to the target language in country is connected to a more native-like use of request formulae. Wang's Discourse Completion Task was adopted to elicit request utterances from three groups of participants: advanced Chinese EFL learners studying in China (at home students) and in the UK (study abroad students), respectively, and native speakers of British English. The findings show that, although in some respects study abroad students in the UK employed request formulae in a more native-like manner compared to at home students in China, neither group showed close approximation to the request behaviour of the native speaker group. The findings are discussed in the context of current debates, including interlanguage variations, interactional competence, and native speaker norms and intelligibility.
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