Requests and Linguistic Politeness Strategies: A Case Study of Igbo English Speakers in Nigeria

Chinomso P. Dozie, Chioma N. Chinedu-Oko, Patricia N. Anyanwu, Favour O. Egwim, Emeka J. Otagburuagu

Abstract


This article examined the Igbo native speakers’ perception of request act as well as the linguistic politeness strategies used to achieve this communicative intention in their conversational English as bilinguals. The study participants were 2748 undergraduate Igbo native speakers purposively selected from different Federal and State Universities in the core Igbo-speaking states of South-east/South-south Nigeria. To elicit data, a 10-item discourse completion task (DCT) with guided options written in English and designed to evoke politeness strategies in request discourse projecting hypothetical situations was administered to the participants. The results showed that the study samples brought to fore their sociocultural expectations as Igbo by adopting principally the directness strategy in performing the request act. Also, findings revealed that the participants paid attention to certain sociolinguistic variables such as hierarchy, extent of familiarity, which contributed to the variance, observed in their choice of strategies in some contexts. Furthermore, the study noted a measure of linguistic transfer of a tinge of the native language to the target language (English language) as participants tried to fulfill the communicative goals of the request act in the target language. Notably, the findings demonstrated the possibility of communication breakdowns arising from grammatically correct but pragmatically inappropriate utterances from learners hence the need to further emphasize pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic consciousness - the dearth of which has been implicated in the study.

Keywords


Requests, Linguistic Politeness Strategies, Igbo Native Speakers, Cultural Norms, Conversational English, Nigeria

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.13n.1.p.23

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