Politeness of Vietnamese Students in Writing Request Email in English: a Course-based and Socio-pragmatic Study




Politeness, Vietnamese politeness, request email, English as a Foreign Language, corpus-based discourse analysis


This exploratory study investigates politeness strategies employed by Vietnamese EFL learners when writing English request emails sent to foreign and Vietnamese professors and school staff. A corpus-based critical discourse analysis is used to analyze sub-elements of politeness including the degree of imposition, terms of address, request-giving strategy and lexicon-syntactic modifier. The results support the assumption that Vietnamese language pragmatic knowledge is deeply ingrained and has tremendous influence on students’ L2 email writing skills. The study also reveals that Vietnamese students applied a high level of imposition with formal term of address and salutation, directness strategies with the overuse of “please” and other hedges. While gender is not a determining factor, the inflexible adoption of fixed phrases and syntactic-lexical devices were attributed to the lack of sociopragmatic competence. Thus, apart from linguistic knowledge, the role of cultural awareness and socio-pragmatic knowledge should be highlighted in communicative English learning and teaching.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Pham Thi Minh Trang, Vietnam Maritime University

Pham Thi Minh Trang is an English teacher in the Faculty of Foreign Languages of Vietnam Maritime University, Vietnam and currently obtaining her Master of Art in English in Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan. Her research concerns English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learning and teaching, Sociocultural Teaching Approach and Applied Linguistics.

Aiden Yeh, Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages

Dr. Aiden Yeh is an Asst. Professor and Director of Academic Cooperation & Exchange Section at Wenzao Ursuline University of Languages, Taiwan, where she also serves as Academic Adviser for Southeast Asian Studies Program. She has a PhD in Applied Linguistics (Birmingham University, UK) and MSc in ELT Management (Surrey University).



How to Cite

Pham , T. M. T., & Yeh, A. (2020). Politeness of Vietnamese Students in Writing Request Email in English: a Course-based and Socio-pragmatic Study . International Journal of Language and Literary Studies, 2(2), 109–128. https://doi.org/10.36892/ijlls.v2i2.202