The current study investigated the refusal strategies realized by young adult Egyptian students in their L1 (Egyptian Arabic) and L2 (English). The study also explored the socio-pragmatic features of Egyptian refusals in terms of power and distance as well as the pragmatic transfer in the students’ L2 refusals. 2270 cases of refusal were collected by means of a Discourse Completion Task (DCT) and field notes. The sample consisted of 200 DCTs (collected from 100 students in L1 and L2) and 60 instances of refusals extracted from field notes collected by the researcher. The data were analyzed according to an adaptation of the taxonomy of refusal strategies by Beebe, Takahashi and Uliss-Weltz (1990). The findings reflected a great amount of positive pragmatic transfer as most of the students refusals were indirect refusals. The strategies that were mainly used by students were statements of explanations, statements of alternatives, and statements of regret. In addition, adjuncts to refusals such as gratitude and positive opinion were used to refuse the requests and offers of higher and equal power. Furthermore, the results also showed an amount of negative pragmatic transfer in students’ L2 refusals as a result of both pragma-linguistic and socio-pragmatic failures. Implications and recommendations for future research were suggested based on the given results.


Applied Linguistics Department

Degree Name

MA in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

Graduation Date


Submission Date

March 2017

First Advisor

Plumlee, Marilyn K.

Committee Member 1

Agameya, Amira

Committee Member 2

Bassiouney, Reem


114 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis


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