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Polite questions and requests

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  • Requests usually include reference to the requester, the recipient fo the request and the action to be performed.

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  • 1. POLITE QUESTIONS & REQUESTS GBUS 495, MS. QUINONES
  • 2. OVERVIEW• Question Types• What Makes a Question Polite?• Questions vs. Requests• Requests & Strategies
  • 3. REVIEW: QUESTION TYPES• Open Questions • Require responses that are often complex in nature. • Use key words like “who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how.”• Closed Questions • Require simple answers like “yes” or “no”. • Use key words like “be,” “do,” “have,” “will,” “can,” “shall,” “must,” and “might.”
  • 4. REVIEW: QUESTION TYPES• Direct • Ex. What time is it?• Indirect • Ex. I wonder if you know what time it is.• Question Tags • Ex. You are wearing a watch, aren’t you?
  • 5. REVIEW QUESTION TYPES• Direct and indirect questions: • Discover information you do not know.• Question tags : • Check information you think you know.
  • 6. WHAT MAKES A DIRECT QUESTION POLITE?• Adding “excuse me” or “pardon me” to a direct question: • Direct Question: • Can you move your car? (potentially rude) • Revised Direct Question: • “Pardon me, can you move your car?” (more polite)
  • 7. WHAT MAKES A DIRECT QUESTION POLITE?• Changing “can” to “could” in direct questions: • Example with “can”: • “Can you open the door?” (slightly rude) • Example with “could”: • “Could you open the door?” (more polite)
  • 8. WHAT MAKES A DIRECT QUESTION POLITE?• Adding “please” to the end of a direct question in combination with other strategies: • Example w/o “please”: • “Can you direct me to the park?” (less polite) • Example w/ “please”: • “Could you direct me to the park, please?” (more polite)
  • 9. PRACTICE: DIRECT QUESTIONS• Make these direct questions more polite. 1. Are your hands clean? 2. Why did you do that? 3. Where are you? 4. Who is this? 5. How did you do that? 6. What happened here?
  • 10. WHAT MAKES AN INDIRECT QUESTION POLITE?• Introductory phrase + question word (or if) + positive sentence. • Example: I was wondering + if + you know where Jack is? vs. Where is Jack?* “If” is used for closed questions.
  • 11. WHAT MAKES AN INDIRECT QUESTION POLITE?• Some Common Introductory Phrases: Do you know … ? I wonder / was wondering …. Can you tell me … ? Do you happen to know ...? I have no idea ... Im not sure ... Id like to know ... Have you any idea ...
  • 12. PRACTICE: INDIRECT QUESTIONS• Create a polite indirect question with these direct questions. 1. When does the next bus leave? 2. Are you leaving now? 3. Why are you sitting over there? 4. Where have you been? 5. Did you bring my book? 6. Can your roommate come with us?
  • 13. QUESTIONS VS. REQUESTS• Both questions and requests have direct and indirect types.• Polite questions and polite requests use very similar language but have different goals. • Difference: • Requests usually involve an action in response (they ask for something). • Questions usually elicit information.
  • 14. REQUESTS - INTRO• When making a request, a speaker asks a someone to do something, often with a question. • Lend something • Can I borrow 1,000 dollars? • Do or help with a chore • Would you clean up your room? • Do something for someone • Could you drive me to the station?
  • 15. KINDS OF REQUESTS• Hearer-oriented • Could you clean up the kitchen, please?• Speaker-oriented • Can I borrow your notes from yesterday’s class?• Speaker- and Hearer-oriented • So, could we tidy up the kitchen soon?• Impersonal • So it might be a good idea to get it cleaned up.
  • 16. PARTS OF A REQUESTExample:Danny, can you remind me to bring the book foryou on Monday? Otherwise I might forget. • Attention getter • Danny • Head act – the request • Can you remind me to bring the book for you on Monday? • Supportive move(s) • Otherwise I might forget.
  • 17. REQUESTS & FACE• Face = your feeling of self-worth or self-image • Positive face = the desire for approval by others • Negative face = the desire not to impose on others.
  • 18. BURDEN OF REQUESTS• Potential intrusion• Placement of burden on the recipient• Potential need to refuse a request
  • 19. BURDEN OF REQUESTS• Complication: • Refusing a request & having a request refused result in potential loss of face• Implication: • There is a need to minimize the burden of requests
  • 20. REQUEST STRATEGIES• Direct strategies • Usually the second most common (10% in English)• Conventionally indirect strategies • Most common in all languages (82%)• Non-conventionally indirect strategies • Least common (8%)
  • 21. DIRECT STRATEGIES• Explicit requests • I’m asking you to clean up the kitchen. • You’ll have to clean up the kitchen. • I really wish you’d clean up the kitchen.• Imperatives (commands) • Clean up the kitchen. • Do your homework! • Sit down.
  • 22. CONVENTIONALLY INDIRECT STRATEGIES• Use frequently used expressions to downgrade the request. Ex. Suggestions: • How about cleaning up? • Why don’t you help with the cleaning up?
  • 23. CONVENTIONALLY INDIRECT STRATEGIES• Grammatical downgrades • Could you…? • I wonder if you would mind…? • Do you think I could…? • It would really help if you…? • Would you mind if I…? • Would you be kind enough to…?
  • 24. PRACTICE: DOWNGRADES• Use downgrades to request that someone do the following action. 1. Help you carry a heavy item 2. Remind you to bring your homework to class 3. Go to the movies with a group 4. Visit career services with you 5. Allow you to go in front of them 6. Give you something to drink
  • 25. CONVENTIONALLY INDIRECT STRATEGIES• Supportive moves • Do me a favor • Can you do me a favor? Would you lend me 1,000 dollars? • Explain • I missed my bus. Could you give me a lift home?
  • 26. CONVENTIONALLY INDIRECT STRATEGIES• Supportive moves • Check possibility • Are you going towards the station? If so, could I have a ride? • Compliment • You have beautiful handwriting. Could I borrow your notes?
  • 27. PRACTICE: SUPPORTIVE MOVES• Use supportive moves to indirectly request that someone do the following: 1. Lend you a pen 2. Invite you to their house for dinner 3. Play music for you 4. Help you study for a test 5. Help you decide what to wear to an event 6. Accompany you to an event
  • 28. NON-CONVENTIONALLY INDIRECT STRATEGIES• Non-conventionally indirect strategies = Hints • This is when there is a gap between the speaker’s intended meaning and the literal meaning.
  • 29. NON-CONVENTIONALLY INDIRECT STRATEGIES• It’s cold in here. • Meaning: Close the window• Do you have any money on you? • Meaning: Can I borrow some money?• Do you know where the newspaper is? • Meaning: Would you get the newspaper?
  • 30. PRACTICE: HINTS• Use hints to request that someone do the following: 1. Turn on the air conditioner. 2. Leave you alone. 3. Give you a ride. 4. Stay with you. 5. Write something for you. 6. Go to bed.
  • 31. FACTORS AFFECTING REQUESTS• Social and situational factors affecting how requests are made: • Social status • Social distance • Hearer’s obligation to carry out the request • Right of the speaker to make the request • Difficulty of completing the request
  • 32. PRACTICE: SOCIAL FACTORS• How you would make the following requests politely to different audiences in different situations?
  • 33. PRACTICE: SOCIAL FACTORSRequest: “Let me leave.” • Situation 1: You are in a meeting with the CEO of your company and you have to leave (emergency). • Situation 2: You are on a first date, but suddenly remember an appointment you have in 30 min. • Situation 3: You are playing a game with friends but it is getting late and you have a test in the morning.
  • 34. PRACTICE: SOCIAL FACTORS• Request: “Come with me” • Situation 1: You are taking care of a child and need to take them with you on an errand. • Situation 2: You are talking with your mother/father and want them to join you on a vacation. • Situation 3: You are a department manager in your company and need a coworker to accompany you to an important meeting.
  • 35. REVIEWQuestionsWhat Makes Questions PoliteQuestions vs. RequestsRequests
  • 36. ANY QUESTIONS OR REQUESTS?
  • 37. REFERENCES• “Requests” by Alan Bessette on Slideshare.net http://www.slideshare.net/ajbessette/requests• “Asking Polite Questions” by Kenneth Beare on About.com http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstructures/a/Ask ing-Polite-Questions.htm