Request Strategies by Second Language Learners of English: Pre- and Post-head Act Strategies

Saad Al-Gahtani, Saad A. Alkahtani


This study investigates the speech act of request by Saudi high- and low-level learners of Australian English. All participants were asked to take part in three different role plays, which varied according to the relative power relationship between the informant and the conductor. We found that high-level learners did not considerably differ from low-level learners in terms of pre- and post-head act strategies, and request strategies; thereby indicating that proficiency level does not have a significant impact on L2 learners’ choice of pre- and post-head act strategies and request strategies. However, both groups of learners deviated from Australian English native speakers in terms of post-head act and request strategies. In light of the social variable (power) influence, it was found that power affected both groups of learners, along with the native speaking group, in terms of pre- and post-head act strategies. However, power did not have an impact on the SLL group, while it did have an effect on the high-level group, along with the native speaking group, in terms of request strategies. Thus, there is no apparent correlation between the social variable (power) and L2 learners’ use of pre- and post-head act strategies, while power positively correlates with L2 learners’ proficiency level regarding their use of request strategies.

Key words: Interlanguage pragmatics; Speech act of requests; L2 learners


Interlanguage pragmatics; Speech act of requests; L2 learners


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