Research Article

Chinese EFL Learners’ Cross-cultural Pragmatic Competence: The Appropriateness of Request


  • Joyce Yeboah Master student, Foreign Language and Applied Linguistics, Foreign languages and literature Department, Nanjing Tech University, China


The speech act of requesting has attracted a lot of attention in recent research.  Previous studies reveal that conventionally indirect request strategies are commonly used by second language (L2) learners. This study is relevant because the findings would improve the requests strategies and its responses between Chinese EFL learners and foreigners. The study also examines the role of cross-cultural pragmatic competence in Chinese students in learning English as a Foreign Language (EFL) by considering the appropriateness of requests. It aims to find out the effects of knowledge of L1 culture on L2 pragmatic competence and how requests and its responses would contribute to pragmatic failure. The researcher used both quantitative and qualitative approach to analyse data. The data were collected through a discourse completion test (DCT) from 72 undergraduates and postgraduate students. The modified DCT was composed of two parts. The first was mainly concerned with the demographic information of the participants and second was composed of 12 simulated situations eliciting the appropriateness of requests in various communication settings.  The findings of present study revealed that Chinese learners do not differ markedly from native speakers in their use of strategies, but do differ significantly in the formulaic expressions they employ for making the requests. Unclear request strategies and responses were identified as contributing factors to pragmatic failures. However, the study recommended that instructors should engage learners of English as a second language in a lot of appropriate request strategies to build learners’ competence and ability to understand situations in different environments.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

4 (5)





How to Cite

Yeboah, J. (2021). Chinese EFL Learners’ Cross-cultural Pragmatic Competence: The Appropriateness of Request. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 4(5), 20–41.



request strategy, cross-cultural communication, pragmatic competence