Teaching email politeness in the EFL/ESL classroom

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Writing status-congruent emails is a skill that requires high pragmatic competence and awareness of the politeness conventions and email etiquette that need to be followed. Planning and composing such emails pose a greater challenge for EFL learners who use English in lingua franca communication (ELF), as they not only often struggle with grammatical accuracy but might also be faced with a clash between English L1 norms and lingua franca norms, especially when finding themselves living in the L1 speech community. This study discusses the need for explicit email instruction in the EFL/ESL classroom by examining how a number of authentic emails, written by Greek-Cypriot university students in English, are perceived by a group of British English native speaking university lecturers. The article aims to highlight the unwelcome potential effects of EFL emails and to offer a number of practical suggestions and recommendations for pedagogical intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-424
Number of pages10
JournalELT Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015


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