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Title: A study of upward request emails : managing a harmonious relationship in three academic discourse communities of Britain and China
Author: Zhu, Wuhan
ISNI:       0000 0004 2728 6141
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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This study discusses and compares the way that members of three discourse communities in Britain and China manage harmonious relationships with one another by managing rapport and doing relational work in making upward requests through emails. The three discourse communities differed from each other in terms of their cultural and linguistic composition. A total of 187 request emails to university instructors and the same number of questionnaires were collected from 65 Chinese- speaking postgraduates (CSs), 45 British English-speaking postgraduates (ESs) and 45 Chinese English-speaking postgraduates (CESs). The ways of rapport management were revealed by mainly exploring choices of rhetorical strategies and the selection of various rapport-management moves (i.e. the discourse domain); the employment of requestive strategies in head acts of request (i.e. the illocutionary domain); and the linguistic realization of some moves and head acts (i.e. the stylistic domain). The performance of relational work was assessed by pattern evaluation of linguistic behaviour in the emails and several case studies. Both similarities and differences in the way the three discourse communities managed rapport and carried out relational work were found among and within the three discourse communities. The similarities and differences are subsequently explained with reference to socio-psychological factors, mainly involved in interactional goals, face sensitivities, and rights and obligations from cross-cultural and interlanguage perspectives. In terms of an in-depth investigation of these emails, the study may contribute to the ever-growing body of cross-cultural pragmatics research. It develops a more synthesized theoretical framework, which integrates some updated politeness models, like rapport management by Spencer-Oatey (2000, 2008) and Locher and Watts. relational work (2005), into a new area of cross-cultural genre study. Empirically, a comprehensive insight has been gained into the nature and difference of email communication from cross-cultural and interlanguage perspectives.
Supervisor: Fitzmaurice, Susan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available