A Study on the Perception of Jordanian EFL Learners’ Pragmatic Transfer of Refusals

Ibrahim Fathi Huwari, Yasser Al-Shboul


This study investigates the perception of Jordanian EFL learners’ (JEFL) pragmatic transfer of refusal strategies in terms of contextual and cultural factors. Data were collected using a discourse completion test (DCT) and a scaled-response questionnaire (SRQ) to elicit perception data from the participants. Data from the SRQ were analyzed based on the speaker’s right to refuse the initiating act. Findings revealed that the right the speaker has to refuse the initiating act was assigned high ratings by the three groups (i.e., M > 3.00) in all social categories. Individually, however, the groups displayed the rating value differently where the AEL1 group’s perception of the speaker’s right was relatively higher than that of the JEFL and JAL1 groups in all the social categories. The JEFL participants’ negative pragmatic transfer criteria were met in the first and third social categories. The study concludes with a discussion of important directions for future research.

Keywords: Perception, Refusal, Pragmatic transfer, Pragmalinguistic transfer, Sociopragmatic transfer 

Full Text:



Al-Eryani, A. A. (2007). Refusal Strategies by Yemeni EFL Learners. The Asian EFL Journal 9 (2): 19-34.

Al-Issa, A. (1998). Socio-pragmatic transfer in the performance of refusals by Jordanian EFL learners: Evidence and motivating factors. Unpublished PhD dissertation. University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Al-Issa, A. (2003). Socio-cultural transfer in L2 speech behaviours: Evidence and motivating factors. International Journal of Intercultural Relations (27): 581-601.

Al-Momani, H. S. (2009). Caught Between Two Cultures: The Realization of Requests by Jordanian EFL learners. Doctoral dissertation. Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Al-Shalawi, H. (1997). Refusal strategies in Saudi and American culture. Unpublished master’s thesis. Michigan University, USA.

Al-Shboul, Y. Maros, M. & Yasin, M.S.M. (2012). An Intercultural Study of Refusal Strategies in English between Jordanian EFL and Malay ESL Postgraduate Students. 3L The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies 18, (3): 29-39.

Asher, R. E. & Simpson. J. M. (Eds.). (1994). The Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics (6), pp 3267. Oxford. Pergamon Press.

Bardovi-Harlig, K., & Hartford, B. S. (1993). Refining the DCT: Comparing open questionnaires and Dialogue Completion Tasks [Monograph]. Pragmatics and Language Learning (4):143-165.

Bardovi-Harlig, K. (1999). Researching method. In L. F. Bouton (Ed.), Pragmatics and language learning (Vol. 9, pp. 237–264). Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois.

Beebe, L.M. Takahashi, T. & Uliss-Weltz, R. (1990). Pragmatic transfer in ESL refusals. In R. C. Scarcella, E. S. Anderson, and S. D. Krashen (Eds.), Developing communicative competence in a second language (pp. 55-94). New York: Newburry House.

Blum-Kulka, S. & House, J. (1989). Cross-cultural and situational variation in requesting behavior. In S. Blum-Kulka, J. House, & G. Kasper (Eds.), Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies (pp. 123–154). Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G. (1989). Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Brown, P. (1988). Understanding Research in Second Language Learning: A Teacher’s Guide to Statistics and Research Design. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chen, H. (1996). Cross-cultural comparison of English and Chinese metapragmatics in refusal. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Indiana University, USA.

Chen, M. (2006). A Study of Chinese EFL Interlanguage Requests. Master’s Thesis. National Sun Yat-sen University.

Cohen, A. (1996). Speech act. In S. L. Mckay, & N. H. Horeberger (Eds.). sociolinguistics and language teaching (pp. 393-420). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

El-Samaty, M. (2005). “Helping foreign language learners become pragmatically competent”, Proceedings of the 10th Arab World English Journal TESOL Arabia Conference, 9.

Gass, S. M. & Selinker, L. (2001) Second Language Acquisition: An Introductory Course. London: Lawrence Earlbaum.

Gudykunst, W. B., & Ting-Toomey, S. (1988). Culture and interpersonal communication. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Hill, T. (1997). The development of pragmatic competence in an EFL context. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Temple University, Japan

Kasper, G. (1992). Pragmatic transfer. Second Language Research, 8, (3): 203-231.

Kasper, G. & Blum-Kulka, S. (1993). Interlanguage Pragmatics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Lee, C. (2008). An Interlanguage Study of the Speech Act of Refusals made by EFL Learners in Taiwan. Master’s thesis. National Sun Yat-sen University.

Liu, F. (1997). An aspectual analysis of ba. Journal of East Asian Linguistics (6): 51-99.

Nelson, Al-Batal, & Echols. (2002). Directness vs. indirectness: Egyptian Arabic and US English communication style. International Journal of Intercultural Relations (26) 39–57.

Ramos, J. (1991). “No...because”: A Study of Pragmatic Transfer in Refusal Among Puerto Rican Teenagers Speaking English. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Colombia University Teachers Collage. Colombia.

Tada, M. (2005). Assessment of EFL Pragmatic Production and Perception Using Video prompts. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Temple University Graduate Bored, USA.

Thomas, J. (1983). Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Applied Linguistics (4): 91-112.

Ting-Toomey, S. (1999). Communicating across cultures. New York: Guilford Press.

Trosborg, A. (1995). Interlanguage pragmatics. Requests, complaints and apologies. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Zegarac, V. & Pennington, M. C. (2000). Pragmatic transfer in intercultural communication. In H. Spencer-Oatey (Ed.). Cultural speaking: managing rapport through talk across cultures (pp.165-190). New York: Continuum.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

2010-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD.

Advances in Language and Literary Studies

You may require to add the 'aiac.org.au' domain to your e-mail 'safe list’ If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox'. Otherwise, you may check your 'Spam mail' or 'junk mail' folders.