Politeness Strategies in Wiki-mediated Communication of EFL Collaborative Writing Tasks

  • Mimi Li

Abstract

Informed by the theory of social constructivism and computer-mediated
communication (CMC), wiki-mediated collaborative writing has been
increasingly implemented in second or foreign language classes.
However, to date, no research has addressed students’ interaction and
negotiation of their social relationship during wiki-mediated
collaboration. Drawing on politeness theory, particularly Brown and
Levinson (1987)’s taxonomy of politeness strategies, this study
analyzed the wiki-mediated discourse of one collaborative writing
group in a Chinese EFL context. This particular writing group
consisted of three EFL college students at a southwestern university in
China. This article examined specifically how this small group actively
engaged in social interaction by adopting politeness strategies during
asynchronous communication in a wiki “Discussion” module. Results
revealed that this small group used three types of politeness strategies,
i.e. positive, negative, and bald on record skillfully, to establish
friendship, solidarity and respect while completing their collaborative
writing tasks smoothly and efficiently. This study validates the value of
linguistic politeness strategies in the analyses of social interaction
occurring in computer-mediated discourse and also suggests some
pedagogical implications.

Published
2012-10-15