American English, Turkish and interlanguage refusals: a cross-cultural communication and interlanguage pragmatics study

Şahin, Sevgi
This study investigates the refusal realizations of native speakers of American English (AE), Turkish (TUR) and Turkish learners of English with advanced level of proficiency (TRE). It aims to uncover the refusal strategies of young AE, TUR and TRE in conversations between equals and also to uncover if the learners display pragmatic transfer in their refusal strategies. In addition to this, the extent to which the social variables of level of closeness and refusal eliciting acts affect the refusal productions of each group is pursued. The thesis also aimed to provide an explanation for the rapport management orientations of the three examined groups when refusing equal-status interlocutors. To this end, the data are collected from three different groups using a Discourse Completion Test (DCT), which is developed out of the situations in a TV Serial. The analysis of data is done manually and each refusal is coded. CLAN CHILDES is utilized in order to see the typical combinations of refusal semantic formulae used by three groups. Later, PASW is used to run descriptive statistics and calculate the frequency and percentages of refusal strategies/semantic formulae. The results of the study show that refusals and rapport management orientations while refusing status equal interlocutors are culture and situation specific and they differ both cross-culturally and intra-culturally. Research findings also reveal that TRE often produce pragmatically appropriate refusals because refusal strategies they use correspond to those of AE. However, there are some cases in which the evidence of pragmatic transfer are observed with respect to the frequency of certain semantic formula usages.