1. The Art of request

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    How does one signal to others that help is needed? That's right, the easiest way is simply to ask for it! But one must know how to ask. So, what does an ordinary, everyday request sound like these days?

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    The Art of request

    Phrases like "Could I have some water, please ", "Give me some water” and "I feel really thirsty" often lead to the same result: you will be given water. Why, then, are there so many different forms of expressing this request? In this project we will investigate the relationship between language and the reality of oral requests.

    Language provides us with the means of asking for something in a variety of ways and with varying degrees of politeness.

    The use of endearments (ex. my dear child, sweetie, love) when making a request goes a long way toward gaining assistance, which is given with pleasure. Words of courtesy (would you mind, could you please) awaken in the listener a measure of leniency and even gratitude toward the person asking for help. When a person asks for something politely, he shows respect for the recipient and this respect, in turn, strengthens relationships.

    Sadly, we are sometimes less careful when asking for help from those closest to us. Whereas, when we are in a bad mood, irritated, or in a hurry, we usually muster up the willpower to be polite with strangers, with family and friends, we do not follow etiquette and all too often burn bridges by abrupt and disrespectful interactions and requests.

    What else affects the way we ask for something? How do our educations, ages, habits, moods, and other real-life circumstances affect our speech during the making of a request?

    Is there a general rule today that can help guide us when issuing requests? Is there an ideal request form suitable for all ages and relationships? How do interlocutors react to different types of requests?

    We invite you to explore these questions and work together to find an answer. To take part in the project you will need to keep an ear tuned to speech patterns around you. As a result of this research we will better understand the role of language in personal relationships and, therefore, in the future we will be able to use language more effectively in relationships with others.

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