An Interlanguage Pragmatic Study on Chinese EFL Learners' Refusal: Perception and Performance

Ming-Fang Lin
May 2014
Journal of Language Teaching & Research;May2014, Vol. 5 Issue 3, p642
Academic Journal
Refusals have been widely examined across languages in the literature. However, few attempts have been made to elicit both perception and performance data for method-triangulation. In addition, Chinese EFL learners' refusals are relatively less investigated. The present study aims to bridge this gap and has two major purposes. One is to examine the cross-cultural differences between Chinese and English refusals. The other is to study how Chinese EFL learners perceive and perform the speech act of refusal. The data were recruited from three participant groups: 30 native speakers of Mandarin Chinese in Taiwan (NSC), 30 Chinese EFL learners in Taiwan (EFL), and 30 native speakers of American English in America (NSE). The research instrument was a questionnaire with two major parts: Scaled Response Questionnaire (SRQ) and Discourse Completion Task (DCT). Elicited data were analyzed in terms of three perspectives: perception of face-threat, overall strategy use, and strategy patterns. The results showed the similarities and differences between Chinese and English refusals. As for EFL learners, they tended to perceive the face-threat greater, and used more strategies and softening devices than Chinese and Americans. In addition, some L2 native expressions were never used by learners. Further instructions are needed to help learners refuse others appropriately.


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