This study investigates the realization and perception of the speech act of refusal among German Learners of Arabic as a Foreign Language and native Egyptian speakers cross-culturally. Besides, it examines the extent of pragmatic transfer from L1 and its nature of being negative or positive one. Three groups participated in the study: eight native speakers of Egyptian Arabic, eight AFL German learners, and three native speakers of German. The data were collected using enhanced open-ended role plays. Furthermore, to increase the creditability of the interaction data, the study triangulated the data by utilizing retrospective verbal reports. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were employed for analyzing the interactions. Results show essential differences between Egyptians and German AFL learners concerning the frequency of direct and indirect strategies and the utilization of individual strategies. For example, German AFL learners employed a higher percentage of indirect strategies and a lower percentage of direct strategies than the native speakers of Egyptian Arabic, especially in higher status situations. Moreover, German AFL learners used a higher percentage of the Statement of Regret and Request for Information/Clarification strategies than the native Egyptians. However, the native Egyptians have utilized a higher percentage of indirect strategies than the AFL group within the deference relations. Comparing the pattern of refusal strategy of the three groups reveals evidence of positive and negative pragmatic transfer in the AFL group. Social factors differences, during the interactions, were found to play a significant role in how refusals were realized in both cultures. From a pedagogical point of view, the results imply that refusals are worth incorporating and be integrated into the language curriculum. That is, AFL learners not only need to recognize the linguistic forms necessary to produce the speech act, but they must be aware of sociocultural values that characterize the target speech community of the target Language. Therefore, the study suggests that AFL teachers should be aware of the significant role of pragmatic variation when teaching pragmatics inside the classroom. This awareness could be reflected by focusing on awareness-raising activities at the cognitive level, production activities for the speech act of refusals, and teaching grammar as a communicative resource to encourage AFL to produce refusals according to the different sociocultural values of the target Language.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2019

First Advisor

Taha, Zeinab

Committee Member 1

El Essawi, Raghda

Committee Member 2

Hasan, Mona


137 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Approval has been obtained for this item


I would like to express my genuine gratitude and sincere appreciation to my major professor, Dr. Zeinab Taha, for her constant support, timely guidance, generosity with her time, and continuous encouragement. I appreciate her graciousness and patience, and I admire her commitment to academic excellence and her impressive knowledge of the field. Also, I would like to express my genuine appreciation and appreciation to my committee members, Dr. Raghda El Essawi, Dr. Mona Hasan, for their valuable advice, enlightening comments, and for encouraging me to finish my dissertation. I am very grateful to Prof. Dr. Abdelhalim Ragab, Chair of Arabic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, for being extraordinarily helpful in facilitating my data collection at the Arabic School, and for being exceptionally supportive and encouraging. Finally, I am also very thankful to Prof. Dr. Lale Behzadi the Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, for her invaluable assistance in data collection. I would like to express my thanks, too, to all my colleagues at the Arabic School of the Institute of Oriental Studies of Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg for their invaluable help in facilitating my data collection, and for their encouragement and good wishes.