A Sociolinguistic Study of the Realization of Refusals Among Yemeni EFL Learners


  •  Yasser Alrefaee    
  •  Naimah Alghamdi    
  •  Najeeb Almansoob    

Abstract

The present paper attempts to study the realization of refusal responses to invitations and requests among Yemen EFL learners in equal, higher and lower social status. It also aims to find out the pragmatic failure resulted from negative pragmatic transfer. In order to do so, refusals of 40 Yemeni EFL (20 high and 20 low proficient) learners were compared with refusals of 20 native speakers of English (ENS) and 20 native speakers of Arabic (ANS). Data were collected using a Written Discourse Completion Test (WDCT) consisting of six refusals to invitations and requests in higher, equal and lower social status. This study finds out that Yemenis and Americans used different refusal strategies when refusing persons of equal and lower social status. ANS also used the adjunct of invoking the name of God which is religiously rooted and culturally specific to assert their excuses. Interestingly, Yemeni EFL learners showed a tendency toward the L1 pragmatic norms in the use of invoking the name of God and also in the use of more Direct strategies when refusing someone equal or lower in status. With respect to the content of refusals, Yemenis used general and vague excuses when refusing someone equal or lower in social status whereas Americans, on the other hand, were found to use detailed and clear excuses with persons of different social status.


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