Persuasive and politeness strategies in cross-culturalletters of request in the Thai business context BY Dr.Ora-ong Chakorn Chavaleephorn Boonma 550132045
What is a letter of request?O McComas and Satterwhite 1993 divide 4 groupsO Appointment and reservation requestO Buying inquiries: ask for informationabout product or servicesO General requestO Persuasive request: A request for cooperation, gifts or favors
Distribution and position of requestO Ora-ong Chakorn focus on analysis letters of request written in English by Thai speakers and Native English speakers.Thai letters-TH Non Thai letters-NTO Bargiela-Chappini and Harris 1996 introduce the terms „pre-request‟- alerter/inform the reader of the purpose of the letter and „post-request‟ emphasis, expansion,thanks= structural representation of written requests.
Structural representation of written requestO EX. Dear Mr. Schrimpf,Further to our telephone conversation, I would like torequest your kind assistance……… 1 -pre-request.=alerterHaving the construction of the benchmark yield curve inmind, we would like to learn the following points: 2 actualrequest1………..2………..Should you have any article or literature regarding thegovernment bond yield curve, we would be most grateful ifyou could fax us…. 3 actual request=what the writerrequires from the readerPlease accept our gratitude for your kindassistance 4 post-request= expression of gratitude
Linguistic realisation of requestsO According to Yli-Jokipii 1994 states that the structure of request consists of declarative need/wish/self-obligation statement , interrogative- polar interrogative/yes-no type- content interrogative/WH typeimperative and modal-initial the type ofrequest that starts with a modal verb
Linguistic realisation of requests/compare between TH and NT lettersO Declarative moodO Halliday 1994 states that “The grammatical category that is characteristically used to exchange information is the indicative; within the category of indicative, the characteristic expression of a statement is the declarative”
Ex. ‘We would be grateful if you could return the fax with any changes necessary O - the modals would and could are used extensively in most declarative requests O 1. Need statement-is the most direct style of request O Ex. ““As part of our web site‟s database, we need your valuable hotel‟s information and slides”-TH O “I also urgently need a list of possible places in Thailand that can provide „regulation size‟ swimming pools for training.-NT
TH writers- soften the tone of ‘need’ NT writers-more clearly and directlyO 2.Wish statement-the writers may use the verbs ask, request, inquire, would like to, to express his/her wishO Ex. „ I ask you to join me in making a gift to this year‟s Annual Fund‟-NTO “Consequently, we would like you to advocate our new business…..”-THO TH writers like to use the term would like to in order to express their wishes whereas NT writer seem to use the verbs ask or request.
3.Self-Obligation statementO Ex. “ I would be grateful if you could complete the attached short questionnaire”..-NTO “We would be highly appreciated if you could kindly provide us the list of toy…”.- THO If-clause with the expression of gratitude or appreciation was used more in the TH letters
*Imperative-Halliday 1994 states that an independent major clause is either indicative or imperative in mood.O EX. „Please fax the completed questionnaire to….‟-NTO „Please give me any comment or advice‟- THO It is found that the imperative request seems to use „please‟ to present the politeness so only found in the TH letters to use more politeness and formality.
Polar interrogative-Halliday 1994 states that within the category of interrogatives, there is a further distinction between yes/no interrogative O Ex. „Also are there particular hotel group or ground travel arrangers who offer travel agents discounts?‟-NT O „ Do you want to take part of this competition as well?‟-TH O NT and TH writers use very few interrogative requests without modals and it can be noticed that the writers don‟t only expect yes/no answers but also some more information
The concepts of face and politenessO The word „Kreng jai‟ in the Thai context is important for Thai people because they try to avoid argument and to maintain their relationships in Thai society. The closest word is “consideration” in English.O According to Sukwiwat(1935) states that „kreng jai‟ can be translated as “ to have consideration for (someone).” Or “to be reluctant to impose on(someone).
Politeness strategies in cross-cultural letters of request
The differences between Native speakers of Englishand Thai writers use of politeness strategies can be found from NT and TH letters of request. O 1.NT letter uses only one negative- politeness strategies (expressions of indebtedness; Brown and Levinson(1987) Ex. “I would be extremely grateful to receive” and “ I would like to thank you in advance”. TH letter quite different types of negative-politeness strategies as Hinds(1990) call “ a delayed introduction of purpose” because the request message comes at the end after a long introduction in TH letter.
2.Most NT letters of request are quite shortand seem to use fewer politeness strategies than TH letters. O NT letters use more „baldly on record‟ in their requests through „need‟ statement‟ and they use modal-initial interrogative without the politeness marker „please‟. O Ex. “I ask you to……”, “I need…..”, “Could you……”
3.TH letters use delayed introduction of the actual requests O passive voice, use of word “kindly”, offer, expressions of gratitude and the politeness makers “please” Ex. The word „pleases kindly……” not found in any NT letter.
Example of formal letterO This letter represents formal old business relationship between The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Consulate-General of USA in Chiang Mai.
conclusionO - Teachers should emphasis accuracy in English usage by acknowledging linguistic in order to success in business communication
Q&AO 1. “Could you kindly sponsor us for this amount?O Modal-initial interrogativeO 2.We would like to get two copies of the English annual reports.O Declarative mood-wish statement
References- Chakorn, O. (2006). “Persuasive and Politeness Strategies in Cross-Cultural Letters ofRequest in the Thai Business Context”. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication.Special Issue on Asian Business Discourse. 16 (1): 103-146.- Chakorn, O. (2004). “Written Business Requests: A Cross-Cultural Study of EnglishRequestWriting in the Thai Business Context”. In C. Gouveia, C. Silvestre and L. Azuaga(eds.) Discourse, Communication and the Enterprise: Linguistic Perspectives.Portugal: University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies.- Chakorn, O. (2002). “Promotional Writing in the Thai Business Context: A Cross-CulturalAnalysis of Sales Promotion Letters”. NIDA Language and Communication Journal.- Chakorn, O. (2007a). “Written Business Invitations: A Cross-Cultural RhetoricalAnalysis”.In G. Garzone and C. Ilie (eds.) The Use of English in Institutional and BusinessSettings. Bern: Peter Lang.- Halliday, M.A.K. (1978). “Language as Social Semiotic: the Social Interpretation ofLanguage and Meaning”. London: Edward Arnold.