Maria Economidou-Kogetsidis, Helen Woodfield, Christine Savvidou
December 19, 2020
Article number: 000010151520200046
The present study investigates the nature of email requests to faculty produced by non-native speaker (NNS) teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL), the importance attached by these teachers to linguistic forms designed to achieve email politeness and status-congruence, and the extent to which perceptions and evaluations by the NNS teachers and native-speaker (NS) lecturers might differ with regard to these emails. The study found that the non-native speaker teachers (NNSTs) evidenced a developed sense of sociopragmatic knowledge in high imposition L2 requests for action, and employed politeness strategies that were indicative of a concern to maintain social and face relationships in virtual consultations. It is argued that despite their advanced English language proficiency, the teachers’ reliance on directness, excessive formality, and lengthy grounders could still put them out-of-status and render their emails as pragmatically inappropriate. The study further confirmed significant differences in how the two groups perceive appropriateness and politeness in direct and unmodified student email requests to faculty. Overall, while the NSs judged the emails primarily according to their content and, to a lesser extent, according to their form and framing devices, the NNSTs focused almost exclusively on form and framing devices (in/formality, in/directness, nature and extent of mitigation, opening/closing moves, forms of address).