A Corpus-Based Study on the Performance of the Suggestion Speech Act by Chinese EFL Learners

Tongqing Gu


The suggestion speech act has not been as widely studied as other speech acts such as requests and apologies, and fewer studies of suggestions have focused on Chinese EFL learners as a target group. This study, based on the spoken data of the Spoken and Written English Corpus of Chinese Learners (SWECCL) and the online Michigan Corpus of Academic Spoken English (MICASE), aims to investigate how Chinese EFL (English as a foreign language) learners make suggestions in English, through comparing the linguistic features of suggestion speech act as well as suggestion strategies used by Chinese EFL learners and native English speakers. Results show that (1) Chinese learners used significantly more modal verbs, explicit performatives and conditional structures than native English speakers, whereas native English speakers used more Wh-questions and Let’s structures than Chinese learners, and (2) in terms of suggestion strategies, the Chinese EFL learners resembled native English speakers in the use of direct suggestion strategies, but the Chinese EFL learners used significantly more conventionalized indirect suggestion strategies than native English speakers.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v4n1p103

International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)

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