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They make me feel guilty”: An analysis of some pragmatic effects of Korean college students’ e-mail messages in English about their grades

  • The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea
  • Abbr : 사회언어학
  • 2014, 22(3), pp.25-57
  • Publisher : The Sociolinguistic Society Of Korea
  • Research Area : Humanities > Linguistics

Seohyun Paik 1

1한양여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study investigates some pragmatic effects of Korean college students’ e-mail letters about their grades sent to English speaking professors. The pragmatic effects of 51 naturally occurring e-mail messages were evaluated by 4 native professors of English from the U.S. and New Zealand. The results show that Korean students at their intermediate proficiency level in English were found to be not very successful in writing e-mails inquiring about their grades. Their inappropriate pragmatic behaviors include structural informality of the letters, illegitimate goal of the letters, rude or not specific enough requests, some irrelevant or inefficient supportive moves and casual languages and symbols. Based on the students’ pragmatic failures in their messages, some relevant pragmatic norms of the native English professors were identified first, which were then compared to some Australian students’ linguistic behaviors in the same speech event to elicit the common core of the pragmatic rules of native speakers of English. Some additional interviews with the native evaluators were also carried out to clarify their baseline norms regarding some controversial aspects of the messages and to acquire some ethnographic information about their relationship with the students as well as other off-line interactions and practices in their academic community. This study finally discusses some implications of the results from the perspectives of applied linguistics and intercultural rhetoric.

Citation status

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