Exploring request emails in English for business purposes: A move analysis

Sanghee Park, Jihyeon Jeon, Eunsook Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This study examined request emails written by Korean professionals (L2 writers) and American professionals (L1 writers) in the workplace. A total of 60 emails (30 from Korean and 30 from American employees) were collected using an online survey administered through Qualtrics. All emails were analyzed using NVivo, Lexical Complexity Analyzer, and L2 Syntactic Complexity Analyzer. Cross-cultural differences between the L1 and L2 writers’ request emails were examined focusing on 1) move frequency; 2) move sequence; and 3) move length and associated lexical and syntactic features. The results showed that while the L1 professionals tended to use supportive moves such as promising compensation and complimenting the addressee, the L2 professionals tended to make their request more concisely, using direct language. This study provides an intercultural understanding of request emails in the business English as a lingua franca context from cross-cultural perspectives, referring to relevant interpersonal communication theories, with implications for L2 business writing in the field of English for business purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
StatePublished - Jul 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Business English as a lingua franca
  • Email
  • Genre
  • L2 writing
  • Move analysis
  • Request


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