Volume 15, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238


This study investigates the cross-linguistic devices of requests written by native English-speaking (NSE) and native Cantonese-speaking (NCS) respondents in an academic context on the basis of 197 discourse completion tests. Both groups asked in a direct sequence accompanied by a different proportion of syntactic and lexical devices to reduce directness. NES used a higher frequency and a wider range of syntactic downgraders than NCS. NCS, however, used a higher frequency of lexical downgraders and a greater number of combinations of lexical devices than NES.<<<The cross-linguistic comparison of the linguistic features of Cantonese and Engish requests demonstrates how the distinctive linguistic properties of each language and social factors combine to constitute a request. Further investigation could be made between idealized and authentic English and Cantonese requests for a range of age groups and contexts, or to compare the linguistic forms of requests made by NCS in English with the linguistic forms of requests made by NES in Cantonese.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Cantonese; Cross-linguistic; English; lexicon-grammatical devices; request
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