The Speech Act of Refusal: Jordanian vs. Syrian Arabic

Mo'ath Ghaben, Ala’eddin Abdullah Ahmed Banikalef


This study aims at investigating the refusal styles of Syrian Arabic speakers and Jordanian ones. The sample consists of 30 Syrian Arabic speakers which are divided equally into two gender groups. Similarly, 30 Jordanian Arabic speakers who are also divided equally into two gender groups. At the time of the experiment, the Syrian and the Jordanian subjects were in Jerash, Jordan. The subjects responded to a twelve-item Discourse Completion Test (DCT). And, the findings reveal that there are slight differences between Syrian speakers and Jordanian speakers in terms of directness/indirectness. With regard to the gender differences, the findings show that both Syrian and Jordanian males are more direct in their refusal strategies than their female counterparts. Thus, the findings of the study will help material developers in making for resource books or modules for teaching and training of language and cultural awareness. The findings can increase the awareness about the sociocultural rules that rules about the use of language functions.


Syrian refusals, speech acts, politeness theory, intralingual study

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