Applying Mitigation Devices in Request Speech Act: Do Gender and Language Proficiency Have any Effect?

Author

Salman Farsi University of Kazerun, Kazerun, Iran,

Abstract

This study aims to examine how Iranian EFL learners perceive and apply mitigation devices in request speech act in 4 asymmetrical situations. Role-play interactions and questionnaires were used to elicit the required data from Iranian informants (male vs. female). The results obtained from the analysis of data revealed that in identical situations, male requestors were comparably more certain than females that the addressee would not be offended form their requests using fewer mitigation devices. In addition, the perception of social power and social distance variables by men and women differed; females were more concerned about the social power and social distance between the interlocutors. Moreover, it was found that language proficiency played an important role in the type of request strategy applied by Iranian EFL learners. Advanced learners were found to use more externally mitigated requests than intermediate and elementary levels.

Keywords