A Gender-Based Analysis of the Speech Act of Refusal in Arabic Among Saudis

Hajar Abdullitife Ababtain


Due to the contribution of the speech act of refusal to our daily communications and interactions, the researcher endeavored to discover the gender differences and similarities of Saudis in utilizing the refusal strategies as well as their preferred ones. This study was conducted at Saudi Arabia, and the participants of the study were 25 Saudi females and 25 Saudi males. The study was carried out quantitatively and qualitatively. The data were elicited using a discourse completion task that consisted of demographic questions and six scenarios. The scenarios were composed of three requests modified from Alrashoodi’s (2020) study and three invitations adjusted from Saud’s (2019) study. The participants’ answers were collected and analyzed using Beebe, Takahashi, and Uliss-Weltz’s (1990) taxonomy of refusal. The findings of this study demonstrated that both genders were in agreement regarding their preference of strategies. Hence, they preferred indirect strategies, followed by adjuncts strategies, accompanied by direct strategies. However, the results showed that males were more direct than females. Further, it was found that the most frequent refusal strategy dominated by both genders was the ‘excuse, reason, explanation’ strategy. The study concluded with a discussion of important directions for future researches.


speech acts, gender differences, refusal strategies

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