Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2405-5522
  • E-ISSN: 2405-5530
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The study abroad (SA) experience presents opportunities to enrich linguistic and cultural knowledge, but pragmatic development does not always follow a linear path. This investigation describes one interlanguage challenge: managing online interactions in upward email requests. Openings and closings in emails of two academic discourse communities are examined: (L1) English-speaking experts with three years of prior socialization into UK academic practices ( = 162) and (L2) Chinese English as a foreign language novices as newcomers on their SA stay ( = 159). The study aims to analyze sociocultural variance between the groups and whether a 10-month sojourn influences novice email practices. Results revealed novices and experts adopted markedly different strategies for interpersonal work. Experts tended to take a less formal, egalitarian stance when initiating emails while novices opted for increased levels of formality in structure and style. Most novices’ mismanagement could be traced back to first language influences or, more commonly, to an overreliance on formal letter writing techniques.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Chinese learners; emails; L2 pragmatics; requests; study abroad
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