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Politeness in BELF Communication: A Study on Directness Strategies and Formality in Professional E-Mail Communication
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates communication between speakers with different first languages in a business setting, referred to as BELF, Business English as a lingua franca. The present paper investigates politeness strategies in BELF e-mail correspondence, and the interplay between them. Politeness strategies play an important role in e-mail correspondence, and this has been identified through studying formality in greetings and closings, and directness in requests. The dataset consists of 46 naturally-occurring e-mails, which have been grouped into internal or external correspondence to accordingly answer the research question, which aims to investigate whether or not there is a difference in the communicative approach depending on who the receiver is. This has been analysed in terms of the politeness strategies formality and directness, and the results show that the internal and external correspondence are very similar to each other, hence the level of formality and directness rather appears to depend on the sender him/herself. The results furthermore present that greetings are mainly informal, closings mainly formal and requests predominantly direct, for both internal and external correspondence. This would conventionally indicate that the e-mails are impolite; however, in accordance with some recent scholars it has been agreed that, along with the development of e-mails, the requirements for politeness have changed, and the e-mails in the present study are primarily considered polite. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 27 p.
Keyword [en]
E-mail communication, Politeness, Formality, Directness, Greetings, Closings, Requests
National Category
Languages and Literature
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104737OAI: diva2:725663
Available from: 2014-09-29 Created: 2014-06-16 Last updated: 2014-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Politeness in BELF Communication: A Study on Directness Strategies and Formality in Professional E-mail Communication(430 kB)373 downloads
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Lindgren, Sara
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