A Study on the Use of Suggestion Strategies among Turkish EFL Learners

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Tuğba Elif Toprak Yıldız


Pragmatic competence can be regarded as one of the pillars of language competence and it involves the effective use of speech acts, which can be defined as carrying out actions through utterances. In second/foreign language contexts, using speech acts effectively grows highly significant mainly for two reasons: i) speech acts are fundamental to communication, ii) speech acts reflect the basic social norms and cultural values of the target speech community. Although speech acts such as requests, apologies and refusals have been investigated in a plethora of studies, suggestions have received relatively limited scholarly attention in the English as a second/foreign language (ESL/EFL) contexts, and in particular, in a writing medium. As such, this qualitative study aims to investigate how Turkish EFL adult learners suggest in English in a writing medium. The data were collected by using a scenario-based task which helped elicit how the participants suggested and what kind of linguistic strategies and elements they used while making suggestions. The results of the qualitative content analysis demonstrated that the most commonly used suggestion type was “conventionalized” whereas “direct strategies” remained scarce. Moreover, it was found that the participants mostly used “possibility” and “should” as suggestion strategies. Overall, the findings suggested that the participants tried to render their suggestions as less face-threatening as possible by lessening the degree of imposition placed on the hearer while being as cooperative as possible, a tendency which can be deduced from the frequent use of “we can” structure.

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