When two cultures meet: On request behaviour in Chinese and English

Chun Yin Doris Chen, Li Ying Xiaoniu Chen, Yuanshan Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The present study investigated the use of strategies by Chinese learners of English and English learners of Chinese in making requests in both Chinese and English. Three factors affecting request strategies were also examined, including social power, social distance and degree of imposition. A total of 12 Chinese-speaking and 12 English-speaking students were recruited to complete Chinese and English versions of an oral discourse completion task (ODCT). Request behaviour was examined in both the subjects’ native and non-native languages. The results show that the learner and native speaker groups performed differently in making Chinese requests but employed comparable strategies in making English requests. Moreover, social distance was found to be more influential than social power and degree of imposition in making Chinese requests. However, the influence of these factors was similar in making English requests. The findings suggest that it was easier for the learners of Chinese to master English requests than for the learners of English to acquire Chinese requests.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-270
Number of pages26
JournalEast Asian Pragmatics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Chinese
  • English
  • request
  • strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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