Patterns in Declining an Invitation: Cross-cultural differences in Korean and Thai refusals

Main Article Content

Nattapra Wongsittikan

Abstract

The present study examines refusal strategies and patterns of refusals to invitations by Korean and Thai native speakers, as well as how it is affected by the power hierarchy and social distance. Sixty Korean native speakers and sixty Thai native speakers participate in the data collection. A six-situation discourse completion task is used to elicit the refusal speech act in the participants’ first languages (Korean and Thai).  The results show that both native speaker groups employed indirect refusal strategies the most in turning down an invitation.  In terms of the refusal patterns, the refusal strategies are categorized into the head (H) and the supportive move (S). The analysis reveals that the pattern of refusals by the two native speaker groups are different. The Korean native speakers (KNS) are more sensitive to the change in social power as their refusals become more S-initial as the levels of the addressee’s social power become higher. On the other hand, the pattern of refusals by the Thai native speakers (TNS) change when the relationship between the interlocutors shifts from distant to close. The TNSs tend to be more direct with the more frequent use of H-initial utterances towards people whom they think they are close to, regardless of their social power level.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Section
Research Articles

References

Austin, J. L. (1962). How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Beebe, L. M. & Takahashi, T. (1989). Sociolinguistic variation in face-threatening speech acts. In M. R. Eisenstein (Ed.), The dynamic interlanguage: Empirical studies in second language variation (pp. 199-218). Plenum Press.

Beebe, L. M., Takahashi, T., & Uliss-Weltz, R. (1990). Pragmatic transfer in ESL refusals. In R. Scarcella, D. Anderson, & S. Kasper (Eds.), Developing communicative competence in a second language (pp. 55–70). New York: Newbury House.

Brown, P. & Levinson, S. (1987). Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Boonsuk, Y. & Ambele, E. A. (2019). Refusal as a social speech act among Thai EFL university students. Arab World English Journal, 10(2), 213-224.

Byon, A. (2003). The Korean speech act of refusals: Sociopragmatic analysis. The Sociolinguistic Journal of Korea. 11(1), 241-270.

Chang, Y. F. (2009). How to say no: an analysis of cross-cultural difference and pragmatic transfer. Language Sciences, 31, 477.493.

Cheng, W. (2014). Speech acts, facework and politeness: Relationship-building across cultures. In J. Jackson (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of language and intercultural communication (pp. 148-163). Routledge.

Chung, B., & Min, S. (2013). Pragmatic Transfer in Refusal Strategies by Korean Learners of English. Journal of the Korea English Education Society, 12(2), 129-147.

Felix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2003). Declining an invitation: A cross-cultural study of pragmatic strategies in American English and Latin American Spanish. Multilingua, 22, 225-255.

Hashemian, M. (2012). Cross-cultural differences and pragmatic transfer in English and Persian refusals. The Journal of Teaching Language Skills. 4(3), 23-46.

Hudson, T., Detmer, E., & Brown, J. D. (1995). Developing prototypic measures of cross-cultural pragmatics. Honolulu: University of Hawaii, Second language teaching & curriculum center.

Hur, S. H. (2010). Gong-son-beob gwan-jeom-e-seo bon geo-jeol-hwa-haeng-ui sil-hyeon-yang-sang- ga-jog-ji-wi-wa jig-jang-ji-wi-leul jung-sim-eu-lo [The Aspect of Refusal Speech act from a Politeness Perspective - Focused on family status and occupational rank]. Hanminjok Emunhak, 56, 45-76.

Intachakra, S. (2012). Politeness motivated by the ‘heart’ and ‘binary rationality’ in Thai culture. Journal of Pragmatics, 44, 619-635.

Jeong, H.K. (2012). A Study on refusal speech act of Thai Korean learners [Unpublished Master’s Thesis]. The Graduate School of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Seoul: South Korea.

Kanako, K. (2012). Han-gug-eo-gyo-yug-eul wi-han han-gug-eo-wa il-bon-eo-ui geo-jeol-hwa-haeng bun-seog yeon-gu [A study on Korean and Japanese refusals for Korean education]. (Master’s Thesis) Department of Korean Language and Literature, Korea University.

Kang, G. (2011). Pragmatic transfer and Wolfson’s ‘Bulge’ phenomenon in Korean EFL learners’ refusals (Doctoral dissertation). Soongsil University.

Kasemsin, C. (2006). Interlanguage refusals: A cross-sectional study of Thai EFL learners’ refusals in English (Doctoral dissertation). The University of Leeds.

Khanittanan, W. (1988). Some observations on expressing politeness in Thai. Language Sciences, 10(2), 353-362.

Kim, J. H., & Kwon, E. Y. (2010). Pragmatic transfer in refusals: A comparative study of Korean and English. English Language and Linguistics, 16(1), 99–136.

Lee, H. Y. (2003). Refusal speech act realization patterns of Japanese learners of advanced or highly-advanced Korean language. Journal of Korean Language Education, 14(2), 295-326.

Li, M. J. (2009). A comparative study on refusal speech acts in Korean and Chinese students who study in university. Teaching Korean as a Foreign Language, 34, 313-345.

Lin, M. F. (2014). An Interlanguage pragmatic study on Chinese EFL learners’ refusals: Perception and Performance. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 5(3), 642-653.

Min, S. J. (2013). A study on Korean EFL learners’ refusal strategies with implication for interlanguage pragmatics. Modern Studies in English Language & Literature, 57(1), 357-376.

Nelson, G. L., Carson, J., Batal, M. A., & Bakary, W. E. (2002). Cross-cultural pragmatics: Strategy use in Egyptian Arabic and American English refusals. Applied Linguistics, 23(2), 163-189.

Nouishi, F. (2015). Cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Expressions. 1, 95-101.

Panpothong, N. (2001). Thai ways of saying “no” to a request. MANUSAYA: Journal of Humanities, 4(2). 63-76.

Panpothong, N. & Phakdeephasook, S. (2014). The wide of mai-pen-rai ‘It’s not substantial’ in Thai interactions and its relationship to the Buddhist concept of Tri Laksana. Journal of Pragmatics, 69, 99-107.

Park, Y. L. & Oh, S. Y. (2019). Korean EFL Learners’ refusals to requests and their perceptions. English Teaching, 74(4), 75-102.

Rattanapian, S. (2019). Thai politeness strategies for disagreement in politeness systems. Humanities and Social Sciences, 37(1), 214-232.

Searle, J. R. (1969). Speech Acts. London: Cambridge University Press.

Sohn, H.M. (1981). Power and Solidarity in the Korean Language. Papers in Linguistics, 14(3).

Tannen, D. (1984). The pragmatics of cross-cultural communication. Applied Linguistics, 5(3), 189-195.

Wannaruk, A. (2008). Pragmatic Transfer in Thai EFL Refusals. RELC Journal, 39(3), 318–337.

Watson, B. M. (2017). Intercultural and cross-cultural communication. In A. Kurylo (Ed.), Inter/cultural communication: Representation and construction of culture (pp. 25-45). SAGE.

Wijayanto, A. (2016). Variability of refusal in L2: evidence of L1 pragmalinguistic transfer and learner’s idiosyncratic usage. International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 26(1), 109-119.

Wongsittikan, N. & You, S. H. (2017). An Interlanguage Pragmatic Study of Refusals by Thai Learners of Korean. Language Information, 25, 93-108.

Yi, Y. H. (2017). Gan-jeob-geo-jeol-hwa-haeng-e na-ta-nan gong-son-pyo-hyeon yang-sang-e gwan-han yeon-gu - tae-gug-in han-gug-eo hag-seub-ja-leul jung-sim-eu-lo [A Study on the indirect refusal in speech - Focusing on the polite expressions of Thais learning the Korean language]. The Korean Language and Literature, 138, 127–153.

Yoon, H. K. (2010). Appropriateness of Korean EFL learners’ refusals via open role-plays (Doctoral dissertation). University of Seoul.

Yoon, S. S. (2011). Cross-sectional analysis of KFL students’ requests and refusals. Language Information, 12, 223-248.

Yoon, K. W. (2017). Han-gug-eo-wa tae-gug-eo-ui geo-jeol-hwa-haeng bi-gyo-yeon-gu [A comparative study on refusal speech acts between Korean and Thai]. Journal of Korean association of Thai studies, 23(2), 1–30.