Female university teachers’ realizations of the speech act of refusal

Cross-cultural and interlanguage perspectives



  • Dina Abdel Salam El-Dakhs Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Jawaher Nasser Alhaqbani Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Sofia Adan Prince Sultan University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


cross-cultural, interlanguage, pragmatics, refusal, speech act


The current study investigates how university teachers decline students’ requests and examines the teachers’ refusal strategies from cross-cultural and interlanguage perspectives. To this end, 60 female university teachers at a private Saudi university participated in 10 role-plays which involved them in declining several students’ requests. The participants consisted of three groups; 20 native speakers of American English (NSE), 20 native speakers of Saudi Arabic (NSA) and 20 native speakers of Saudi Arabic who completed the role-plays in English as non-native speakers of the language (NNSE). The role-plays were audio-recorded and transcribed. The data were coded using Beebe, Takahashi, and Uliss-Weltz’s (1990) refusal model and Trosborg’s (1995) model of internal modifiers. The results revealed the teachers’ general preference for the use of indirect over direct refusal strategies and the American teachers’ stronger tendency to use indirect and mitigating internal modifiers than Arab teachers. The results also showed that the cross-cultural differences between the American and the Arab teachers were limited and that there was no effect for negative pragmatic transfer for the NNSE. The results are interpreted in terms of relevant theoretical models and the existing literature.


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How to Cite

El-Dakhs, D. A. S., Alhaqbani, J. N., & Adan, S. (2021). Female university teachers’ realizations of the speech act of refusal: Cross-cultural and interlanguage perspectives. Linguistics and Culture Review, 5(S2), 1308-1328. https://doi.org/10.21744/lingcure.v5nS2.1821



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