Politeness in Intercultural Email Communication

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Title Politeness in Intercultural Email Communication
Author Murphy, Margaret; Poyatos Matas, Cristina Florencia
Book Title Handbook of Research on E-Learning Methodologies for Language Acquisition
Editor Rita de Cassia Veiga Marriott & Patricia Lupion Torres
Year Published 2009
Place of publication Hershey PA USA
Publisher Idea Group Inc. Global
Abstract Email is an important aspect of many e-learning methodologies. Often, it is the only medium through which students and teachers communicate in online education. Many teachers and students, however, are not trained in how to use email effectively or how to manage the interpersonal dynamics of the medium. Little research has been done to date to assess how people can better communicate via email. The qualitative study described here found out that contrary to popular notions about the brief and direct nature of email communication, politeness is an important and expected component of the language. It also revealed that many participants were uncertain about how to make their email polite according to the norms of the receiving culture. The study showed that different views on the nature of politeness in email can contribute to personal offence and online miscommunications. As a result, an instrument to assess politeness in email communication was designed (The Tool-Kit: An Instrument to Assess Politeness in Intercultural Email Communication). The instrument was developed as a way of dealing with the lack of common ground among email users to discuss and evaluate politeness in English email communication. This chapter describes in detail and with examples the different elements of the tool and shows how this instrument can provide a practical way of systematically assessing politeness in email communication. The tool also provides the necessary metalanguage necessary to reflect on the use of politeness indicators and provides clear guidelines to consider politeness protocols. As such, this innovative instrument promotes a practical approach for assessing politeness in email which could then assist the effective online interactions in e-learning methodologies. However, this tool is still in its infancy. Its limitations such as potential subjectivity and cultural bias are acknowledged and discussed in this chapter. Pedagogical applications of the instrument for online teaching to second language learners are also discussed.
Peer Reviewed Yes
Published Yes
Publisher URI http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/978-1-59904-994-6
Alternative URI http://dx.doi.org/10.4018/978-1-59904-994-6.ch016
Edition 1st
Chapter Number 16
Page from 253
Page to 270
ISBN 978-1-59904-994-6
Date Accessioned 2008-09-17
Language en_US
Research Centre Griffith Institute for Educational Research
Faculty Arts, Education and Law
Subject PRE2009-Other Language and Culture
URI http://hdl.handle.net/10072/28063
Publication Type Book Chapters
Publication Type Code b1

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