Pandemic Lect. Muthana Mohammed Badie (M.A.)

Tikrit University-college of Education for Women


   The world witnessed variables of an international standard due to the spread of Covid-19, which helped the development

of ideas that call for a rearrangement of behaviour and teaching in the pragmatic perception of request, due to psychological regressions and mental disturbances effective on societies and their various languages and human races, which constitute a cultural extension in dealing and communication in the language of conversation and dialogue. The current circumstances helped by the rapid spread of Covid-19, as we infer from the course of events that the language of request and psychological emotions will have reflections on the current reality and what may be reflected in the future of these social relations, which are determined by the form of request among the English language students and its variables help to develop ideas and behaviours that have social and economic dimensions that may affect educational behaviour shortly.  Requests are directly related to “politeness” since people use polite behaviour to minimize the potential threat to a person’s face. People communicate in the community they know how to communicate in their society but they may have no ability to communicate with other cultures correctly so, politeness expression is very important to make contact correctly. Politeness has been the focus of several studies of the speech of non-native speakers of English; the results indicate striking differences in the politeness strategies used by each group.

Keywords: Requests, Polite behavior, Politeness

تدريس الإدراك الواقعي للالتماس ما بعد جائحة كورونا للطلبة الدارسين اللغة الانجليزية كلغة أجنبية

م. مثنى محمد بدع

جامعة تكريت – كلية التربية للبنات – قسم اللغة الإنجليزية

  الملخص …

   شهد العالم متغيرات ذات معيار دولي بفعل انتشار فايروس كورونا ساعدت على تنامي أفكار تستدعي الى إعادة ترتيب السلوك والتدريس في الادراك الواقعي للالتماس وذلك بفعل الارتدادات النفسية والاضطرابات العقلية الفاعلة على المجتمعات وبمختلف لغاتها وأجناسها البشرية والتي تشكل امتداد حضاري في التعامل والتواصل في لغة الحديث والحوار. اذ ساعدت الظروف الراهنة بفعل انتشار كوفيد-19 بشكل سريع، حيث نستدل من مجرى الاحداث بأن لغة الطلب والانفعالات النفسية سوف تكون لها انعكاسات على الواقع الحالي وما قد ينعكس على مستقبل تلك العلاقات الاجتماعية والتي تحدد بصيغة الالتماس بين طلاب دارسي اللغة الإنجليزية وما له من متغيرات تساعد على تنامي أفكار وسلوكيات لها ابعاد اجتماعية واقتصادية قد تؤثر على السلوك التعليمي في المستقبل القريب.

 ان الالتماس مرتبط مباشرة “بالأدب” لأن الناس يستخدمون السلوك المهذب لتقليل التهديد المحتمل بوجه الشخص. يتواصل الناس في المجتمع ولكن قد لا يكون لديهم القدرة على التواصل مع الثقافات الأخرى بشكل صحيح، لذا فإن التعبير المؤدب مهم جدا لجعلهم يتصلون بشكل صحيح، وحيث كان الادب محط تركيز العديد من الدراسات لخطاب المتحدثين غير الناطقين باللغة الإنجليزية وتشير النتائج الى اختلافات واضحة في استراتيجيات الادب التي تستخدمها كل مجموعة.

Section 1

1.1 problem of the study.

 Polite expressions are very important topics in English language learning and teaching with both skills of writing and speaking. Students may exchange the communication by using polite requests. As English learners have to deal with the emerging Corona pandemic circumstances, they may find difficulty in controlling all types of polite strategies in applying requests.

 1.2 aims of the study.

 This study aims at finding the way of performing polite expressions after the Coronavirus pandemic emerged when the students be in contact with students from different cultures, and the rearrangement of behaviour and teaching in the pragmatic perception of request.

 1.3 value of the study.

 This study is valuable for specialists in teaching and learning English as a foreign language, and to students who study English as a foreign language, it also has a value in specifying the polite expressions including requests across cultures and the suitable polite expression in a specific context.

Section 2

 2_1 politeness:

 The speaker to the interlocutor should consider Polite since it is difficult. The reason why being polite is difficult for the speaker is that needs an understanding of the language the social and culture of the community. Besides that, politeness is not only viewed by the speaker but also viewed by the interlocutor. It makes many experts have different perceptions about politeness. Leech (1983) stated that politeness is one from a pragmatic perspective. Politeness could be defined as means of expressing that is used in conversation that has specific roles depending on the participant. Fraser and Nolene (1990:18) define politeness as a conversational contract that has a set of rights and obligations that participants must follow, which can be negotiated, and rearranged during a conversation.

 2_2 The concept of request:

 “Requests are directive acts and they are attempts on the part of a speaker to get the hearer to perform or stop performing some kind of action. Thus, they are beneficial to the former and costly to letter. According to Brown and Levinson’s (1978 and 1987:85) politeness theory, requests are face-threatening acts because “the speaker impinges on the hearer’s claims to freedom of action and freedom from imposition “[Blum_ Kulka and Olshtain 1984:20l]” to minimize the potential threat of a person’s face in interactions, people vary their requests between direct and indirect strategies depending on different factors such as power relations, social distance, rate of imposition, and values”. The desired action is to occur after utterance, either in the immediate future or at some later stage (Edmondson-house, 1918:99). A request is a speech act whereby a requester conveys to request that he/she wants the request to perform an act which is for the benefit of the requester (Trosbory, 1995:187). The act may be a request for an object, an action or some kind of service some factors affect

factors that affect such types of requests. First intonation, the marks of which are already placed to show where the contour changes. Second, the social situational contexts in which these utterances are produced and the status of the speaker and his request. These two factors make the imperative sentence types realized as the act of requesting

                                                              (Hussein, 1984:64).

 2_3 Theories of politeness:

According to the speech act theory, speakers produce utterances to perform illocutionary acts (Austin, 1962:58) or speech acts (Searl, 1969:58) such as requests, apologies, offers, complaints, and some others. The illocutionary force of language surpasses the purely declarative function of communication; in fact, it consists of the pragmatic use of language to convey intentions. By performing these acts, speakers do things with words and communicate their needs through language. Thus, linguistic form is linked with communicative intent either explicitly or implicitly. Brown and Levinson (1978 and 1987:86) expanded Goffman’s theory of face in their politeness theory. According to them, the face is a set of wants, roughly “the want to be unimpeded” and a person’s desire to act without imposition, and “the want to be approved in a certain respect” (ibid.63); the former refers to negative face, in everyday communications, there are considerably a very large number of acts such as requests that threaten face intrinsically(FTAS). Face threatening Acts (FTAS) are acts that violate the hearer’s need to maintain/her self-esteem and be respected. Therefore, people do face work to offset FTAS (Brown and Levinson 1978:68). Brown and Levinson identified five types of politeness strategies that people resort to in their politeness behaviour to manage face[ Act baldy, Going off _ record_ indirect, Do not perform the act, positive politeness, Negative politeness].

 The potential to allow speakers and hearers’ to do things with words makes language a powerful tool that needs to be used effectively and appropriately to achieve the goal of communication and avoid misunderstandings. In the case of requests, the need expressed by the speaker is imposed on the listener, which makes a request a face-threatening act (Brown and Levinson,1987:58) that calls for modifications and strategies to reduce the possible face damage. These modifications depend on the nature of the request and the power and distance relationships between speaker and listener (scroll and scroll, 2001:58), which vary from culture to culture and are determined by the values, beliefs, and social norms of a speech community. This is why learners of a second language may differ from native speakers in their pragmatic ability, even though their linguistic competence is highly developed.

2.4 Pragmatics:

 Is concerned with the study of meaning as communicated by a speaker (or writer) and interpreted by a listener (or reader). Pragmatics is the study of speaker meaning. Pragmatics is the study of contextual meaning. Pragmatics is the study of the relationships between linguistics forms and users of those forms. The advantage of studying language via pragmatics is that one can talk about people’s intended meanings, their assumptions, their purposes or goals, and the kinds of actions that they are performing when they speak. Pragmatics is appealing because it is about how people make sense of each other linguistically, but it can be a frustrating area of study because it requires us to make sense of people and what they have in mind. (Net1)

 2.5 Euphemism vs Taboo:

2.5.1 Euphemism:

 It is generally a word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensive or suggest something unpleasant.

Some euphemisms are intended to amuse, while others use

bland, inoffensive terms for things the user wishes to downplay. Euphemisms are terms used to refer to things or actions, which soften the name they are usually, called. Usually, it is a positive word to cover some harsh, unpleasant reality, for example, when someone dies. These are euphemisms, when they work, euphemisms may change the way we think about or set the things named. (Net2)

Beckman and callow (1974:119) cited in Larson, 1984:116) define a euphemism as “a figurative expression which is in some ways like a metonymy. It is used to avoid an offensive expression or one that is socially unacceptable or unpleasant. Pyles and Algeo (1982:248_249) claim that euphemism is the substituted term for a taboo one.

 2.5.2 Taboo:

 Is a word which refers to bodily function, a certain part of our anatomy and sex have usually been considered” taboo” to a greater or lesser degree at various times in our history. Some

Taboos of the past seem amusing to us today. (Net2)

Taboo words differ from culture to culture, from society to society and from generation to another, but there are common areas of taboo words among cultures and societies as death, religion and sexual areas. The word taboo was borrowed from the Tang language, originally used in Polynesia with religious connotations. Now in sociolinguistics, it refers to a prohibition on the use of, mention of, or association with particular objects, actions, or persons. Euphemism is the avoidance of words, which may be seen as offensive or disturbing to the addressee. Euphemism and taboo are two sides of the same coin, but the first is used positively to avoid uttering the second, which refers to bad utterances.

 2.6 Constative:

 It describes some state of affairs truly or falsely according to its identification to the outside world, for example:

 “Nada has succeeded”. The trueness and falsehood of this sentence are related to its correspondence to the outside world in which it is uttered. In addition to the real meanings that have gotten from the constative sentence, the metaphorical and implicit meanings are also gotten from such sentences. Constative express the speaker’s belief and his intention or desire that the hearer has or from a like belief. They include assertive, predictive, informative, confirmative, disputative, suggestive, suppositives, etc.

 2.6.1. Imperative:

 The imperative tense in English is used to give an order, a warning, an appeal, a suggestion, an instruction and in some cases a request to another person. Levinson (1983:21) stated that the imperative sentence is very rarely used to issue requests in English. Palmer’s (1986) request can be expressed by imperative. Simply take the verbs’ infinitive form (without the “to” infinitive indicator). Moreover, sometimes people use the word “please” to make an imperative sentence more polite. According to Sifianou in Martinez (2009) the word “please” has been regarded as one of the most transparent politeness markers that serve to soften the imposition carried out by a request being uttered.

 For example: _

 1_ Give me your book.

 2_ Don’t open the window

 3_ Clam down.

 2.6.2 Interrogative:

 Requests can be marked by using interrogative besides that, leech (1983:21_22) stated that an interrogative sentence has the meaning of questioning in request. They are Yes/No either questions or wh-questions. Yes /No interrogatives are questions that can be answered with a yes or a no response and wh_interrogatives begin with A-wh-word and call for an open-ended answer.

 A yes or no answer is not appropriate for these questions.

The following examples are _

 1_Have you got a car? (Yes/No, question).

 2_Why don’t you cook for dinner? (wh_question).

 3_Do you have some money? (Yes/No, question).

Section 3

 Data Analysis

 3.1 Sample of the study:

  The sample consisted of thirty undergraduate students who are chosen randomly from the English department – college of education for women through the approved E-learning during the current period as a means of distance learning in the current circumstances of the Corona pandemic and its effect on the subject to explore their perception for request patterns and their usage by answering certain conversational situations.

 3.2 procedure of the study:

 To better account for the structure of requests, this current study uses Blum- Kulka et al.(1989) in classifying request strategies into three main types[Direct, conventionally indirect, non-conventionally indirect]. As heads act. Then these main heads are classified into subcategories as explained below with examples: _

 1_The most Directive strategies (called performatives or impositions). This most explicit level is realized by requests marked as imperatives or by other verbal means that name the act as a request. e.g.: Give me your notebook, please.

 This strategy includes the following patterns:

 A_ Mood Derivable/Imperative: _

 Utterances in which the grammatical mood of the verb signals illocutionary force as “please leave me alone”

 B_ Explicit performatives: _
 Utterances in which the illocutionary force is explicitly named as “I am asking you to clean up that mess”

 C_ Hedged performatives: _

Utterances in which the naming of the illocutionary force is modified by hedging expressions such as “I would like to ask you to give your presentation a week earlier than scheduled”

 D_ Obligation statement:_

 Utterances, which state the obligation of the hearer to carry out the act as. “You will have to move that car”

E_ Want statements:_

 Utterances, which state the speaker, desires that the hearer carries out the act as:

 “I want you to stop bothering me”

 2_The conventionally indirect strategies that realize the act by reference to contextual preconditions necessary for its performance as conventionalized in a given language as: “Could you please give me your notebook” The sub-strategies of this level are as follows:

 A_ Suggestionry formulae: _

 Utterances, which contain a suggestion to dox, e.g.: “How about cleaning up tonight”?

 B_ Query preparatory:_

 Utterances which contain a reference to preparatory conditions. e.g.: “could you clean up the kitchen, please”?

 3_ The non-conventionally. In direct strategies (called hints).  They are realized either by the request by partial reference to the object or element needed or by reliance on contextual clues. as: “will be using your notebook tonight” it has the following categories:

A- Strong hints:_

 Utterances containing partial reference to object or element needed for the implementation of the act as:  “you have loft the kitchen in a right mess”

 B- Mild hints:_

 Utterances that do not refer to the request proper can be interpreted as a request by context as “I am a nun” (Blam-kulka et al. 1989:18_44).

3.3 The questionnaire: _

 To attain the objectives of this research Discourse Completion Test (DCT) is used as a method of test. It is a form of questionnaire representing some natural situations to which the respondents are expected to react and respond by making requests. This test was originally constructed by

 Blum-Kulka in 1982 and has been used widely since then in gathering data on speech acts realization. The questionnaire used involved five written context-enriched situations. Each situation could only be answered by a request after presenting them to the students. Then, the research has counted the frequent use of polite requests distributed to the three major classifications and their categories. Such a test is made to measure the perception and production of polite requests by the fourth class of English students depending on what they have been taught through the previous years.

      Table 1: The frequent use of polite requests strategies     

Collect-ion Fifth situation Fourth situation Third situation Second situation First situation Descriptive category  
16   10   0     2     0 6   2   0     0     0 0   4   0     0     0 6   2   0     2     0 2   2   0     0     0 2   0   0     0     0 Imperative   Performative  Hedged Performative    Obligation Statement   Want Statement       Direct strategies
2       62 0       10 0       10 0       10 0       16 2  
Suggestionry Formula     Query Preparatory     Convention-ally Indirect strategies
2       6 0       2 2       4 0       0 0       0 0       0 Strong Hints     Mild Hints       Non-Convention-ally Indirect strategies
100 20 20 20 20 20   Total

3.4 Discussion: _

 Table (1) illustrates the categories students included in their requests. Some of the categories had a high percentage of usage whereas others were hardly included or completely absent in the data. Conventionally indirect strategies were the most recurrent components of the student’s requests with an occurrence of (%64), them direct categories of requests are a mounted(%28), whereas the lowest degree is belonging to Non-conventionally indirect strategies amounted (%8).

 Thus, conventional indirectness was the most preferable strategy and the rate of politeness is high as they direct their requests to the more respectable status like (an instructor, the manager, neighbour and a friend). It is also obvious that the strategy used in the requests was the query preparatory, which is mounted (1.62). This strategy includes the use of modals represented by the use (can, could, would) and they are used in terms of formality. The students thought that the models are the most formal styles and they are appropriate for the situations. The results also reveal the ignorance of students with the pragmatic perception for addressing their requests, which are used by mentioning hints or non-conventionally indirect strategies.

 3.5 Conclusions: _
      the present study reaches the following results:

1_The students’ awareness of using polite requests through the conditions of a covid-19 pandemic is too limited.

2_Students have a shortage in the perception of the pragmatic hints according to the situations given to them.

3_They ignore the influence of certain factors like closeness, power, social status on addressing polite requests directly and indirectly

4_ Indirect requests are highly recorded by the production of students, also the students tend to use frequently the formal styles represented by the modals (can, could, would…).

 3.6 Recommendations

1_ Students after the covid-19 pandemic conditions should be taught everything related to the pragmatic conception and perception of polite requests and to make the process of teaching and communicating with other cultures polite and correct.
2_They should take intensive lectures about pragmatics: speech acts, performance, the power, social status concerning conversations, and should be taught the classification of request strategies.

3- Activating the role of educational guidance in educational institutions as a real motive to build student behaviours while writing and formulating polite requests so that the educational reality is accurately embodied in a future vision after Covid-19.


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–  Magister, La. (2008). Polite requests in the classroom. Mixing grammar and pragmatics instruction.
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–  Pyles, T. & Algeo, J. (1982). The origins and developments of the English language. The United States of America.
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– language study-2.pdf. and -Taboo.aspx.

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