Pragmatics of Requests in Heritage Russian: Implications for the Classroom

Marina Avramenko, Natalia Meir

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter presents an overview of studies available to date on the pragmatic competence of Russian heritage speakers, focusing on the speech act of requests. The chapter briefly describes requestive speech acts in Russian, highlighting the most prototypical forms used by monolingual speakers in formal and informal social contexts, and then presents an analysis of ways in which requests in heritage Russian diverge from those in monolingual Russian. This analysis includes the following elements of requestive speech acts: address forms in attention getters, clause type (interrogative or imperative), syntactic downgraders (the subjunctive and negation), and lexical elements (the use of the lexical marker požalujsta and the choice between the finite and the impersonal forms of the modal of possibility-moč' and možno). The chapter then provides a discussion of factors responsible for the observed divergence, more specifically the cross-linguistic influence and the diminished and/or divergent input indexed by the age of onset of bilingualism. The chapter concludes with pedagogical suggestions that may help teachers engage heritage learners in tasks that raise learners’ pragmatic awareness and help heritage speakers improve their pragmatic skills.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRussian as a Heritage Language
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Research to Classroom Applications
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781040003794
ISBN (Print)9781032461496
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 selection and editorial matter, Olesya Kisselev, Oksana Laleko, and Irina Dubinina; individual chapters, the contributors.


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