Re-Assessing Cross-Cultural Pragmatics: Insistence as a Marker of Affiliation and Connectedness

Mahmood K. M. Eshreteh


This paper explores the practice of insisting among people in the Palestinian society with respect to invitations. Even though insistence is perceived as a Face Threatening Act (FTA) in some societies (Brown & Levinson, 1987), the study shows that insistence in Palestinian society is desirable and expected behavior which usually aims at highlighting in-group solidarity and revealing affiliation and hospitality. Building mainly on studies in socio-pragmatics and some ethnographic work in communication, this study examines instances of insistence by means of which caring and hospitality are conveyed as markers of affiliation that recreate an interpersonal ideology of connectedness.


Insistence, Speech act, Pragmatics, Imposition, Face-Threatening Act (FTA)

Full Text:



Al-Khatib, M. A. (2001). The pragmatics of letter-writing. World Englishes, 20(2), 179-200.

Al-Khatib, M. A. (2006). The pragmatics of invitation making and acceptance in Jordanian society. Journal of Language and Linguistics, 5 (2), 272-294.

Blum-Kulka, S. (1987). Indirectness and politeness in requests: Same or different? Journal of Pragmatics, 11, 131-146.

Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1978). Universals in language usage: Politeness phenomena. In E. Goody (Ed.). Questions and politeness (pp.56-280). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Brown, P., & Levinson, S. (1987) Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chen, X., Ye, L., & Zhang, Y. (1995). Refusing in Chinese. In G. Kasper (Ed.), Pragmatics of Chinese as a native and target language (pp.119-163). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press.

Eshreteh, M. (2014). A cross-cultural socio-pragmatic study of invitations in Palestinian Arabic and American English. (Unpublished PhD Dissertation). Madrid: UCM.

Fe´lix-Brasdefer, J. Ce´sar, (2003). Declining an invitation: A cross-cultural study of pragmatic strategies in Latin American Spanish and American English. Multilingua, 22, 225–255.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2006). Linguistic politeness in Mexico: Refusal strategies among male speakers of Mexican Spanish. Journal of Pragmatics, 38, 2158- 2187.

Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. E. (2008). Perceptions of refusals to invitations: Exploring the minds of foreign language learners. Language Awareness, 17(3), 195-211. Retrieved from

Fitch, K. L. (1990/1991). A ritual for attempting leave-taking in Colombia. Research on Language and Social Interaction, 24, 209–224.

Fitch, K. L. (1994). A cross-cultural study of directive sequences and some implications for compliance-gaining research. Communication Monographs, 61, 185-209.

Fitch, K. L. (1998). Speaking relationally: Culture, communication, and interpersonal connection. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Fitch, K. L., & Sanders, R. (1994). Culture, communication, and preferences for directness in the expression of directives. Communication Theory, 219–245.

García, C. (1989). Disagreeing and requesting by Americans and Venezuelans. Linguistics and Education, I, 229-322. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

García, C. (1992). Refusing an invitation: A case study of Peruvian style. Hispanic Linguistics, 5(1-2), 207-243.

García, C. (1999). The three stages of venezuelan invitations and responses. Multilingua, 18(4), 391-433.

García, C. (2007). How argentineans refuse an invitation. Hispania, 90(3), 551-564.

García, M. (1981). Preparing to leave: Interaction at a Mexican-American family gathering. In R. P. Durán (Ed.), Latino language and communicative behavior (pp.195-215). Norwood, N.J.: Ablex.

Gu, Y. G. (1990). Politeness phenomena in modern Chinese. Journal of Pragmatics, 14, 237–257.

Hundsnurscher, F. (1981). On insisting. In H. Parret, M. Sbisà, & J. Verschueren (Eds.), Possibilities and Limitations of Pragmatics (pp.343-357). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Leech, G. N. (1983). Principles of pragmatics. London: Longman.

Leech, G. N. (2005). Is there an east-west divide. Journal of Foreign Languages, 6, 1-30

Nelson, G. L., Carson, J., Al Batal, M., & El Bakary, W. (2002). Cross-cultural Pragmatics: Strategy use in Egyptian Arabic and American English Refusals. Multilingua, 23(2), 163-189.

Nureddeen, F. A. (2008). Cross-cultural pragmatics: Apology strategies in Sudanese Arabic. Journal of Pragmatics, 40, 279-306.

Obeng, S. G. (1999). Apologies in Akan discourse. Journal of pragmatics 31(5), 709-734.

Placencia, M. E. (2008). Insistence among family and friends in Quiteño Spanish: From connectedness to empowerment? BISAL, 3, 88-113

Searle, J. (1975). Indirect speech acts. In speech acts. In P. Cole & J. Morgan (Eds.), Vol. 3 of Syntax and Semantics. New York: Academic Press.

Sifianou, M. (1992). Politeness phenomena in England and Greece: A crosscultural perspective. Oxford: Clarendon.

Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and collectivism. Boulder: Westview.

Vanderveken, D. (1990). Meaning and speech acts, Vol. 1 Principles of language use. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wierzbicka, A. (1985) Different cultures, different languages, different speech acts. Journal of pragmatics, 9, 145-178. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. North Holland, Amsterdam.

Wierzbicka, A. (1991). Cross-cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction. New York, NY: Mouton de Gruyter.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2015 Mahmood K. M. Eshreteh

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Share us to:   


  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

Online Submission:

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.
  • We only use four mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;;

 Articles published in Cross-Cultural Communication are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 1055 Rue Lucien-L'Allier, Unit #772, Montreal, QC H3G 3C4, Canada.
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://; Http://;

Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture