Politeness and Speech acts of Refusal and Complaint among Jordanian Undergraduate Students

Lana Kreishan


This study investigated the refusal and complaint speech act strategies employed by Jordanian undergraduate EFL learners. Refusal and complaint data were collected using a discourse completion test and role-plays. The findings revealed that, as non-native speakers, the respondents preferred to use indirect semantic formulas. The most frequently used refusal strategies involved an explanation or excuse, apology, negative ability, postponement or adjuncts to refusals. Conveying hints, requests, and annoyance constituted the preferred strategies for expressing complaints. The Jordanian students utilized these strategies quite often because the strategies are less direct and more polite. The analysis revealed similarities between the strategies used by the sample EFL learners and the strategies used by native English speakers. Because speech acts depend on standard cultural norms and practices, it is important for EFL learners to understand English-speaking social settings in order to avoid pragmatic failure and miscommunication. EFL instructors should therefore emphasize linguistic pragmatics for learners to assimilate into an English speaking cultural environment and maintain clear and unambiguous communication.


Pragmatics, refusal, complaint, speech act, seperation

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.4p.68


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