The Effect of Cultural Environment on Refusal Strategies: A Cross-Cultural Study on Performance in British English and Turkish
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This qualitative study was conducted to reveal the types of speech acts of refusals employed by four groups of participants which were native speakers of British English (BEB), native speakers of Turkish living in the UK (TEB), native speakers of Turkish with lower levels of English proficiency (TTT-lo) and native speakers of Turkish with higher levels of English proficiency (TTT-hi). By comparing the strategies used by four groups, the study investigated the similarities/differences in refusal strategies between British English and Turkish, the effect of second language learning on first language, and the development of interlanguage pragmatics occurred as a result of acculturation. The data were collected by closed-role play in which participants played out cases on an eight-itemed discourse completion test. After the transcription of oral scripts, responses were coded according to “Classification of Refusal Strategies” that is developed by the researcher by adding categories to the “Classification of Refusals” suggested by Beebe, Takahashi and Uliss-Weltz (1990). The results of the analyses showed that all groups‟ preferred main strategies were the same. On the other hand, a remarkable difference was seen in a second level strategy, namely in use of “no”. In addition to this, this study suggests that the refusal strategies preferred by the groups could be explained by cultural individualism/collectivism dimensions; nevertheless the distinction should be made on group basis -not on country basis, because each group has its own characteristic which is linked to participants‟ demographics, backgrounds and experiences.