Politeness perception of university students and lecturers in email requests: A comparison study

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Eda Nur Özcan


As digital communication lacks key aspects of face-to-face communication, such as the absence of paralinguistic clues, improving the quality of digital communication is a need in today’s world. In educational settings, digital communication often takes place through emails, especially between students and lecturers. The interaction between two parties must be investigated to contribute to effective communication quality because emails might lead to misunderstandings between students and teachers. In Turkish culture, politeness is expected to be expressed in the interaction while communicating with a person with a higher rank, and the same is also expected while communicating online. For this reason, this present study aims to investigate students’ and lecturers’ perceptions of politeness in email requests. Five sample emails, each adopting different politeness strategies: bald on record, negative politeness, positive politeness, positive and negative politeness, and off record, have been sent to lecturers and students from different universities. While lecturers were asked to rate the politeness of email requests, students were asked to rate the likelihood of sending the sample emails to their lecturers. The results have suggested an overall match between students’ and lecturers’ perceptions of politeness with both groups rating negative politeness strategy as the politest way to request emails.


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Özcan, E. N. (2024). Politeness perception of university students and lecturers in email requests: A comparison study. Focus on ELT Journal, 6(2), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.14744/felt.2024.6.2.1


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