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This paper examines the pragmatic development of nine German university students in a study abroad context over the period of one academic year. The investigation focuses on learners' ability to soften the illocutionary force of request utterances by employing a range of external modifiers. Data for the present investigation were elicited at three distinct points of the learners' sojourn in the target language environment: shortly after their arrival, in the middle of their stay and shortly before they returned home to Germany. The data were collected with the help of the Multimedia Elicitation Task (MET) which had been specifically designed for the present study. The MET is a computer based instrument that contains 16 request scenarios. The study examines whether learners varied the use of external modifiers according to the status of their interlocutors and/or the imposition of the request. It also investigates whether their choice of modifiers over time seems to have been influenced by exposure to their L2 in the study abroad context by comparing the data of the German learners of English in England to data collected from 13 German learners of English in Germany with no study abroad experience and also to 15 British English native speakers.


McEnery, Tony (2006). Swearing in English: Bad Language, Purity and Power from 1586 to the Present. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 10-415-25837-5; 304 pp. Price: £ 80.00. (Lynn Grant)

Truss, Lynne (2005) Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of Everyday Life, or Six Good Reasons to Stay at Home and Bolt the Door. Profile: London. ISBN 186197-933-9; 214 pp. Price £ 9.99 / USD $ 20.00. (Sara Mills)

Cho, Yongkil (2005). Grammatik und Höflichkeit im Sprachvergleich. Direktive Handlungsspiele des Bittens, Aufforderns und Anweisen im Deutschen und Koreanischen. (A Comparison of Grammar and Politeness in German and Korean: Directive Language Games with Requests, Injunctions and Instructions). Tübingen:Max Niemeyer Verlag. ISBN: 3-484-75032-4; 202 pp. Price: Euro 118.00. (Gila A. Schauer)

Watts, Richard, Sachiko Ide, and Konrad Ehlich (eds.) (2005). Politeness in Language: Studies in its History, Theory and Practice (2nd Edition). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter. Hardback ISBN 3-11-018549-0; Paperback ISBN 3-11-018300-5; 404 pp. Price: Hb: £ 66.20 / Euro 98 / USD 132.30. Pb: £ 28.99 / Euro 38.95 / USD 52.60. (Ian Walkinshaw)