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Differences in ‘Requesting Strategies’ in E-mail between Adults and Children

Kazue Kunimoto
Kodomo Eigo

An analysis of E-mails written by English-speaking children, may assist Japanese children in composing English written E-mails.
Thirteen Emails written by English-speaking youths ages seven through fifteen, along with thirteen E-mails written by English-speaking adults of nineteen to forty four years of age, were analyzed to study the structure and characteristics of English written E-mails.
The senders intended to request Japanese children of 'Kodomo Eigo' (an English emersion school in Japan) to exchange E-mails.  The E-mails of the children were then compared with those of the adults.
In an attempt to find a better strategy to teach Japanese children English writing; this study was aimed at analyzing E-mail messages written by English-speaking children.

The main findings include: 

(1)              All of the adults used 'supportive move' (i.e., speaker's intention to mitigate his/her request), and 46.2 % of children utilized that strategy.

(2)              The structure of children’s letters was simple, composed of only Greeting - Self-introduction - Request.  While that of adults' letters showed the method:   Greeting - Self-introduction - Supportive move - Request. Children's letters were obviously too direct and simple.

(3)              Over 53 % of children's E-mails were considered a lower classification than those of the adults' E-mails.


In conclusion, the following are ‘requesting strategies’ of children's E-mails.

(a)        Children can write ‘request E-mails’ without ’supportive movement’.

(b)        It is appropriate for children to write ’direct request E-mails’.


This study suggests that an E-mail such as Greeting - Self-introduction - Request is sufficient enough to be a children's proposal for exchanging E-mails.

 Summary (75 words in maximum) 

Thirteen ‘request Emails’ of English-speaking children (7 - 15) were compared with thirteen request E-mails of English-speaking adults (19 - 44) to study the structure and characteristics of ‘requesting strategy’.

The main findings include (1) 46.2 % of children used 'supportive move.' (2) The structure of children's letters was Greeting - Self-introduction - Request. This study suggests that the structure: Greeting - Self-introduction - Request is appropriate for a ‘children's request’.