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Title: A semantic/pragmatic exploration of requests : politeness orientation in British English and Syrian Arabic
Author: Khamam, Ruba Riad
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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This study is concerned with probing the realization patterns of requests in Syrian Arabic and British English to examine whether they follow a similar trend across a variety of social situations. Hence, the analysis focuses on the different patterns of requestive strategies and modification types speakers of the two languages use. It additionally tests the extent to which the social variables of power, familiarity and imposition can affect the choice of strategies and modification in the context of these two languages. Data were collected by means of a mixed-methods approach of discourse completion test/task and interviews. A total of 2400 requests were elicited from 100 Syrian students and 100 British students. To gain qualitative insights, 20 follow-up interviews were conducted with a subset of these students. The methodological 40 framework was based on a combination of Blum-Kulka et al.'s (1989) model for said requests and Marti (2006) for unsaid requests. Results have shown that both Syrian and British speakers favour conventionally indirect strategies, thus confirming the findings of the Cross-Cultural Speech Acts Realization Project (Blum-Kulka et al. 1989) that the conventionally indirect strategy is the most frequently used strategy across cultures. However, the British and the Syrian cultures display differences in the way they encode linguistic politeness. Syrians were significantly more direct than the British, whereas the British were significantly more conventionally indirect than their Syrian peers. It has been argued that these differences stem from the different socio-cultural norms that control the social interaction in these languages as well as the different politeness orientation of the two cultures. This project aims to contribute to existing research in the field of politeness and cross-cultural linguistics. It provides insights into politeness in the unresearched Syrian culture.
Supervisor: Davies, Bethan Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available