Oral Requests in Advanced Level English Coursebooks and English Movies: An Evaluative Study

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz

2 Shahid Chamran university of Ahvaz


Concerns over the phony nature of textbooks and artificiality of their contents in reflecting authentic language have been raised by a number of researchers. It has been argued that many language teaching programs result in the failure of learners of English to successfully communicate in the target language. The problem with these programs is that there is no general agreement about the success of these materials in developing the pragmatic competence necessary for interlocutors’ mutually intelligible communication[D1] . Hence, this study explored communicated requests for nonverbal/verbal goods and services (RNGS/RVGS) in the dialogues of 5 textbooks and 8 English movies. The utterances of the textbooks and movies were evaluated on six criteria deriving from research on speech act theory, politeness, and conversation analysis. These included whether the textbooks discussed second pair parts, the forms of requests, the context of request occurrence, the nature of the devices through which the requests are mitigated, and multi-turn request forms. The results of the analysis revealed that, except for re-requests and dispreferred responses of RNGS,textbooks’ strategies including forms, face, contexts of RVGS, and strategies of RNGSwere not realized through adequate examples compared to their variants in movies.Most importantly,except for bald on record, internal mitigators of RVGS, external mitigators, and direct and indirect forms of RNGS, the other request strategies in the textbooks showed less variety than those of their counterparts in the movies. Internally mitigated RVGS were the onlystrategies variouslyexploited in the textbooks.The findings revealed that textbook designers should improve their instructional materials by incorporatingmore accurate samples of communicated requests in their future textbooks.