Desperately seeking reassurance: 	Analyzing requestive hint 	miscommunication	in an email exchange<br />A presentation by ...
Email<br />has transformed the way we communicate.<br />is an asynchronous medium – carefully crafted messages but email w...
The interlocutors<br />
  The email exchange<br />Email 1:<br /> <br />	From: Steve<br />	Date: Thursday, August 17, 2006 6:48 AM<br />	To: John<b...
   The email exchange<br />Email 2:<br /> <br />	From: John<br />	Date: Thursday, August 17, 2006 6:51 AM<br />	To: Steve<...
Analysis<br />The utterance is successfully understood as being an indirect request<br />The intended perlocutionary effec...
Reasons for Steve’s interpretation<br />1] Steve seeks to find the quickest route to the implicit relevance of the request...
Analysis continued<br />The requestive hint is framed to maintain face at the expense of clarity<br />
Conclusion <br />Non-conventional indirect speech acts via email greatly enhance the potential for miscommunication<br />C...
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Desperately Seeking Reassurance: Analyzing Requestive Hint Miscommunication in an Email Exchange

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This presentation is a companion to the research paper in my documents uploads. For the full published paper, please go to my profile and check documents. I gave this presentation for the first time at the JALT Pan-SIG Conference 2009, Toyo Gakuen University, Chiba, Japan. The abstract follows.
This presentation will discuss the reasons for the miscommunication of a requestive hint within an authentic email exchange between two native speakers. It includes the analysis of the interaction from the perspectives of i) speech act theory, ii) implicature, relevance and the prior email history between the two interlocutors, and iii) politeness.

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Desperately Seeking Reassurance: Analyzing Requestive Hint Miscommunication in an Email Exchange

  1. 1. Desperately seeking reassurance: Analyzing requestive hint miscommunication in an email exchange<br />A presentation by Andrew Boon <br />(Toyo Gakuen University)<br />
  2. 2. Email<br />has transformed the way we communicate.<br />is an asynchronous medium – carefully crafted messages but email writers often think in speech mode (Grosvenor, 1998).<br />can support near-synchronous interaction.<br />is fast and convenient but often reduces interaction to the exchange of minimalist messages (Waldvogel, 2002).<br /> can create miscommunication between sender and recipient.<br />
  3. 3. The interlocutors<br />
  4. 4. The email exchange<br />Email 1:<br /> <br /> From: Steve<br /> Date: Thursday, August 17, 2006 6:48 AM<br /> To: John<br /> <br /> 1] Hi John, 2] I think that was my best scoring assignment actually - 3] 85 (distinction). 4] I remember reading somewhere that we need an average 5] of credit to advance - you&apos;ll be able to do that OK. I 6] got lower grades than you with A university (Bs) but had 7] mainly distinctions with B university. This might change 8] soon though - assignments are getting harder! 9] I&apos;m writing one now - can I send it to you sometime10] early next week? The deadline is ages away - but I11] want to knock one on the head during the holidays.12] all the best13] Steve<br /> (Steve, personal communication, August 17, 2006)<br /> <br />
  5. 5. The email exchange<br />Email 2:<br /> <br /> From: John<br /> Date: Thursday, August 17, 2006 6:51 AM<br /> To: Steve<br /> <br /> 1] Steve, 2] Thanks for the info!! 3] Sure - I also have one due in 2 weeks which I haven&apos;t started yet!!<br /> 4] John.<br /> (John, personal communication, August 17, 2006)<br /> Email 3:<br /> <br /> From: Steve<br /> Date: Thursday, August 17, 2006 6:52 AM<br /> To: John<br /> 1] yep - send it over.<br /> (Steve, personal communication, August 17, 2006)<br />Miscommunication?<br />
  6. 6. Analysis<br />The utterance is successfully understood as being an indirect request<br />The intended perlocutionary effect of the requestive hint is unsuccessful<br />
  7. 7. Reasons for Steve’s interpretation<br />1] Steve seeks to find the quickest route to the implicit relevance of the requestive hint.<br />2] “Differences in the communicative worlds of the interlocutors can bring about divergent understandings” (Weigand, 1999).<br />3] The speed of the exchange (6.51am - 6.52am).<br />4] Previous email history - lack of requestive hints between John and Steve.<br />5] Use of double exclamation marks to subtly imply a sense of concern!! - too individualistic and ambiguous.<br />
  8. 8. Analysis continued<br />The requestive hint is framed to maintain face at the expense of clarity<br />
  9. 9. Conclusion <br />Non-conventional indirect speech acts via email greatly enhance the potential for miscommunication<br />Consider the cost to “face” versus being understood<br />So what? What are the pedagogical implications of this study?<br />SAVE THE TREES! – Boon, A. 2008. Desperately seeking reassurance: Analyzing requestive hint miscommunication in an email exchange. Bulletin of Toyo Gakuen University 16: 57-65 (Available online).<br />

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