English Speech Act Realization of “Refusals” among Iranian EFL Learners

Rahman Sahragard, Fatemeh Javanmardi

Abstract


Speech act of refusal has been one of the important topics in the discourse pragmatic research over the past few decades. In fact, pragmatics plays a very important role in the process of communication and the action of refusal is performed in our daily lives and in a variety of situations. Therefore, in the present study, the researcher has tried to investigate how Iranian EFL learners followed different pragmatic patterns to produce the speech act of refusal and what strategies they used in different situations and under various conditions. And also to examine if their use of the strategies were dependent on gender and finally to see if there was any difference in the type of strategies used by students at different levels of education at the university. So, forty eight students, both males and females were randomly selected to be representative of the accessible population from the students studying at different levels of education at the university; that is, twenty MA students majoring in TEFL and twenty eight BA students majoring in English Literature at Shiraz University. Thus, the students were given a questionnaire on discourse completion test (DCT). In the present study, the researcher benefited from a qualitative mode of inquiry for the analysis of discourse pragmatics; that is, the obtained data from the questionnaires were first codified and then each refusal was classified, analyzed and interpreted based on a modified version of Beebe et al.’s (1990) taxonomy of refusal strategies. The results indicated that Iranian EFL learners usually followed implicit or indirect strategies to talk to their interlocutors or hearers and express their intended meaning in a way that they would not cause any offence or threaten their listener’s face. Moreover, indirect speech act usually denoted politeness in the Iranian context as well. In other words, the mostly common strategies used by Iranian learners were excuses, explanations, or reasons following or preceding a sense of regret. Regarding gender differences, due to the limited number of the participants who were mostly females, the researcher in this study could not draw any definite conclusions. Finally, no difference was found between the participants in both levels of education in using the aforementioned strategies.
Key words: Discourse Pragmatic; Pragmatics; Refusal Speech Act; Refusal Strategies; Iranian Context

Resumé: L'acte de discours de refus a été l'un des thèmes importants dans la recherche sur le discours pragmatique des dernières décennies. En fait, la pragmatique joue un rôle très important dans le processus de communication et l'action de refus est réalisée dans notre vie quotidienne et dans une variété de situations. Par conséquent, dans la présente étude, le chercheur a tenté de déterminer comment les apprenants ALE iraniens ont suivi de différents schémas pragmatiques pour former l'acte de discours de refus et quelles stratégies ils ont utilisées dans de différentes situations et de diverses conditions. Il esssaie aussi d'examiner si leur utilisation des stratégies étaient dépendante du sexe et enfin de voir s'il y avait une différence dans le type de stratégies utilisées par les étudiants à des niveaux de l'éducation différents à l'université. Ainsi, 48 élèves, des garçons et des filles ont été sélectionnés au hasard pour représenter la population accessible des étudiants à des niveaux de l'éducation différents à l'université; soit vingt étudiants MA avec la spécialisation en EALE et vingt-huit étudiants BA avec la spécialisation en littérature anglaise à l'université de Shiraz. Ainsi, les élèves ont reçu un questionnaire sur le test de complétion de discours (TCD). Dans la présente étude, le chercheur a bénéficié d'un mode qualitatif de l'enquête pour l'analyse de la pragmatique de discours, c'est-à-dire, les données obtenues à partir des questionnaires ont d'abord été codifiées et ensuite chaque refus est classé, analysé et interprété en fonction d'une version modifiée de la la taxonomie des stratégies de refus de Beebe et al. (1990). Les résultats indiquent que les apprenants ALE iraniens ont généralement utilisé des stratégies implicites ou indirectes à parler à leurs interlocuteurs ou auditeurs et ils expriment leur sens voulu d'une manière qui ne causerait pas de tort ou de menacent face à leurs auditeurs. Par ailleurs, l'acte de discours indirect signifie habituellement la politesse dans le contexte iranien. En d'autres termes, la plupart des stratégies communes utilisées par les apprenants iraniens ont été des excuses, des explications ou des motifs qui suivent ou précèdent un sentiment de regret. En ce qui concerne les différences des sexes, comme les participants étaient principalement des femmes, le chercheur de cette étude ne pouvait pas tirer de conclusions définitives. Enfin, aucune différence n'a été observée entre les participants à ces deux niveaux de l'éducation en utilisant les stratégies ci-dessus.
Mots-clés: Discours Pragmatique; Pragmatique; Acte de Discours de Refus; Stratégies de Refus; Contexte Iranien

Keywords


Discourse Pragmatic; Pragmatics; Refusal Speech Act; Refusal Strategies; Iranian Context ; Discours Pragmatique; Pragmatique; Acte de Discours de Refus; Stratégies de Refus; Contexte Iranien

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.ccc.1923670020110702.021

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