Developmental patterns in internal modification of requests
The present cross-sectional study investigates the development of internal request modification of Turkish learners of English. The data were collected through role-play performances of participants from two different English proficiency levels in four situations and compared against native speakers of American English. The situations varied in terms of power, social distance and imposition. By statistical means, it was shown that beginner learners underused syntactic and lexical/phrasal downgraders (except <i>please</i>) and higher proficiency learners showed a slow development in their employment of both subtypes. No clear correspondence between social factors and the use of internal modifiers was found. The results suggested weak attentional control over pragmatic knowledge. It is concluded that the reason for slow pragmatic development must be multicausal.