Naturally-occurring requests in Turkish: A case from an academic context

Uğur Recep Çetinavcı
Bursa Uludag University
Keywords: Pragmatics, requests, naturally-occurring data, field notes, directness, modification


In terms of their directness and modification strategies, this study investigated how undergraduate speakers of Turkish formulate their naturally occurring requests in an academic context, in which they request things from an academic in his office. After a 4-year data collection period, the researcher analyzed 395 of the requests (hand-recorded as immediate field notes) made to him. The findings on levels of directness revealed that the strongest tendency is towards conventionally indirect strategies, while the female tendency towards them is even clearer. The dominance of conventional indirectness is in parallel also with the degree of imposition of the requests. ‘Zero marking’ is what dominates the findings on internal modification strategies, while some preferences, such as unfinished sentences, could suggest language or context-specific results. In light of these descriptive findings on a part of everyday language in academia, the study could in practical terms help learners and teachers of Turkish and Turkish learners/teachers of English or any other language as well. Moreover, it could contribute to the efforts towards handling the methodological concerns in pragmatics research about the extent to which elicited data can represent what people actually say in natural conversation.