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【摘要】:Email has now become one of the major means Chinese companies communicate with their oversea business partners. This study stemmed from the idea of comparing different email communication features between Chinese speakers and American speakers, with a focus on requests made to colleagues of equal position in business companies. The purpose of the study is to identify the request strategies employed by these two particular cultural groups; in addition, attempts are made to interpret and explain these strategies from culture-specific notions of politeness and speaker' socio-cultural identities reflected in their emails.By applying Requests Coding System (from Cross-Cultural Speech-Act Realization Project), a comparative analysis was conducted with consideration of email content, and strategy features of alerters, strategy types, internal modifications and supportive moves. The most distinctive finding is that Chinese speakers prefer indirect request strategies to direct ones, while native English speakers have a preference to direct strategies in business setting. This was explained by Chinese speakers' inability to understand language and culture differences and power relations in a specific situation. This inability would sometimes cause communication breakdown. There were also some other facts we found in Chinese speakers' requests proving that Chinese speakers' use of request strategies deviated from those of American speakers. Factors leading to the deviation were discussed.In the end, it was argued that language learners should have abilities to observe and analyze language in the world around us and to be able to use these observations and analyses to expand linguistic repertoires and grow in understanding of language in society. Part of understanding language in society is to develop critical perspectives which focus on language and power and seek change where appropriate. Critical language awareness (CLA), an approach to improve language learner's awareness of power, identity, and culture should be adopted in language teaching practice in China.

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