Requesting has been seen as a complex sociolinguistic and sociocultural phenomenon. Although research has examined some factors (e.g. the social factors) that may affect L2 speakers requesting behaviors across different social situations, little research has sought to further explore whether these and other potential factors including situational factors may influence teachers’ and students’ requesting behaviors in the EFL classroom contexts. This study aims to explore whether contextual factors affect teacher and student request types. This study used classroom observation for data collection. Five intact classes of Freshman English at five different universities in Taiwan were observed. Over a 4 week period, two lesson units of teaching were observed, video-taped, and audio-taped for each class. A total of 39 periods, 50 minutes each, were observed. Teacher participants were Chinese-speaking female college EFL teachers. Results showed that both teacher and student requests were influenced by social factors including the social status and the imposition of tasks. The findings showed that teachers with more authority tended to use more direct requests, such as “You help me pass this.” It is interesting to note that the teacher request “You help me pass this” referred to the lower degree of imposition. It was also found that teachers performed a request for completing a task by using an indirect request, “…can you just go through the whole paragraph for us?” Findings also showed that students with a lower social status tended to use more indirect requests, such as “ Can I…?”, and “Would you mind…?” The findings revealed that some contextual factors such as teaching goals, teaching activities, and class management affected teachers’ requesting behaviors. This study has theoretically and pedagogically significance.
Requesting behaviours, social factors, contextual factors, sociocultural perspective, sociopragmatic perspective