This study reports on a study of the use and forms of openings and closings, as rapport-management strategies in academic request emails to university instructors by graduates, who formed three discourse communities, i.e. Chinese, British and Chinese English speakers. Using discourse analytic techniques, a total of 187 emails from 155 postgraduates were analyzed and a number of similarities and differences or divergences were identified. The findings suggest that the discursive practices were subject to intricate and dynamic relations between a number of macro- and micro-contextual factors, and some technical features of emails against different socio-cultures. It is hoped that the results will contribute to enhancing knowledge in the field of rapport management and electronic communication across cultures.

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