Cross Cultural Communication Essay

5328 Words Oct 30th, 2010 22 Pages
Direct and Indirect Strategies of Refusing

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Direct and Indirect Strategies of Refusing among Indonesians
Fransiska Oktoprimasakti
Abstract
This study is a pragmatic study of Indonesian strategies of refusing. By modifying a discourse comprehension test (DCT) developed by Bebee et al (1990), this study was conducted to answer two research questions; the strategy used in refusing and whether the difference in status and gender of the requesters affects the strategy used. The findings of this study show that Indonesian respondents are similar to Japanese, Egyptian and American respondents who in previous studies used mostly indirect refusals. However, the type and frequency of the indirect refusals differ. While an Egyptian and
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In order to contribute to cross-cultural pragmatic understanding and effective communication, cross-cultural pragmatic studies have been conducted. Many have been conducted on refusals, as one of the speech acts used across cultures. (e.g. Beebe et al,1990; Nelson et al, 2002; Johnson,

Vol. 10 No. 2 – October 2006

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Fransiska Oktoprimasakti

Roloff, et al 2004 ). All of the studies approached the strategy of refusing as a politeness strategy or an attempt to ‘save face’ when refusing. Refusals, being inter-related with requests, are speech acts aimed at escaping from performing a requested action (Kline&Floyd, as cited by Johnson, Roloff, et al, 2004). Since requests or offers are made with the expectation that the addressee will not perform otherwise, refusals to requests or offers threaten to produce the requester’s ‘negative face’ (Brown and Levinson, 1987). In order to reduce the threat of seeing the requester’s negative face, people often use strategies in refusing, which vary within and across cultures. Beebe et al (1990) compared strategies used by Americans and Japanese in refusing. This study revealed that Americans tend to be indirect in all situations with all requesters, while Japanese tend to be direct with requesterss of a lower status and indirect with requesters of a higher status. The findings suggest status and the strategies used in

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