This paper examines Greek learners' deviations in the dimensions of internal and external modification. It investigates the way Greek non-native speakers of English use lexical and phrasal downgraders and external supportive moves in order to soften the force of their English requests in three power-asymmetrical situations. Such power-asymmetrical social situations are more demanding in that they generally require greater pragmatic skills and are particularly difficult for non-native language speakers. For this reason, the study aims to investigate the extent to which the learners' use of mitigating devices deviates from that of British English native speakers and to relate any deviations to issues of politeness and culture. Additionally, the extent to which the social variables of power, familiarity and imposition of the requested act affect the learners' use of request mitigation is also pursued.
Results from this study have shown that the amount and type of modification used by the Greek learners present some deviations from native speakers' use. It has been argued that these deviations can be seen as being due to native influence and therefore to pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic transfer, as well as to the different politeness orientation of the two groups.