The Influence the Language Learning Environment on Negative Transfer and its Connection to Status and Face-Saving Refusal Strategies

Rod E. Case, Wei Xu


While there is some research into the role of the target language community in understanding negative transfer and refusals (e.g., Beebe, Takahashi, Uliss-Weltz,1990; Ikoma & Shimura, 1993; Takahashi & Beebe, 1987; Yamagashira, 2001), most research has focused on determining the extent to which L2 proficiency influences negative transfer without close attention to status of the interlocuter or face-saving strategies (e.g., Félix-Brasdefer, 2004; Chang, 2009, Jiang, 2015). In response to this gap in the research, this study reports on findings from an investigation into the negative transfer of refusals among 59 students studying in Japan and the USA. Findings demonstrated that learning environments play a role in determining the frequency of negative transfers and that negative transfer was sensitive to status. Content-related findings suggest that the production of face-saving refusals is sensitive to the learning environment as well. Implications for pragmatic research comparing L1 and L2 environments are offered.


Second Language Acquisition, Pragmatics, Negative Transfer

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