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Request mitigating devices in Australian English and Iraqi Arabic : a comparative study

conference contribution
posted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Mohammed Tahir Kadhim Aldhulaee, Zosia Golebiowski
Speech acts realization in everyday interaction is seen as an important field to explore the impact of linguistic and cultural variations on cross-cultural communication and second language acquisition. The reported study investigates the use of request mitigating devices in Australian English and Iraqi Arabic. It explores the internal and external devices that speakers of the two languages use to mitigate the imposition force of requests and the impact of the linguistic and cultural parameters on this use. Request samples were collected from 14 native speakers of Australian English and 14 native speakers of Iraqi Arabic by means of eight role-play interviews. The mitigating devices were identified and classified according to a modified categorization scheme based on Blum-Kulka et al. (1989). Additional categories of mitigating devices were added to this scheme to meet the requirements of data analysis. These include consultative device (Blum-Kulka & Olshtain, 1984), questions (Trosborg, 1995), apology (Economidou-Kogetsidis, 2008), alerter (Schauer, 2007), closing (Al-Ali & Alawneh, 2010), and new categories: wish/hope statement and verbal incentive. The results showed that internal mitigating devices were more frequent in Australian English requests than in Iraqi Arabic requests, while external mitigating devices were equally pervasive in both groups. The two groups also used different semantic formulae of some mitigating devices in specific situations. The pervasive occurrence of external mitigators in both groups‟ requests is discussed in terms of volubility as a politeness strategy. It is suggested that the divergence between the two groups in their utilization of request mitigations is related to linguistic and cultural variations between the Australian and Iraqi languages and cultures.



The Fifth Annual Round Table (2013 : Melbourne, Vic.)


Monash University


Melbourne, Vic

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E2 Full written paper - non-refereed / Abstract reviewed

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The Fifth Annual Round Table

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