Type Paper
License CC BY 4.0

Pragmatics of email communication between Saudi female students and male professors


This study investigated the pragmatic elements in Saudi female graduate students’ authentic e-mail messages written in English to their male professors. Following Biesenbach-Lucas (2005), 99 e-mail messages sent by 9 female students to their two male professors during the academic year 2005-2006 were analyzed for communication topics (facilitative, substantive, relational), communication strategies (requesting, negotiating, reporting) and address terms. Results indicated that there was no significant difference among the frequencies of communication topics while the frequencies of communication strategies differed significantly in favor of requesting. Sub-categories of communication topics and strategies were also compared separately, and they both yielded significant differences within their sub-categories. As the most preferred communication strategy, requests were analyzed using Brown and Levinson’s (1987) politeness strategies and it was found that students usually preferred positive politeness strategies in their requests from their professors, while they mostly had negative politeness-oriented address terms when starting their messages.


Bulut, D., & Rabab'ah, G. (2007). Pragmatics of email communication between Saudi female students and male professors. The JALT CALL Journal, 3(3), 49-72. https://doi.org/10.29140/jaltcall.v3n3.44