Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2589-109X
  • E-ISSN: 2589-1103
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This study examined the relationship between L2 proficiency and (1) appropriateness of refusals, (2) use of refusal strategies, and (3) multidialectal practices in performing refusals in Arabic. Using a spoken discourse completion task (spoken DCT), data were collected from 45 learners of Arabic at three different proficiency levels and from 15 Arabic native speakers. The situations used in the spoken DCT varied in power and social distance (i.e., refusing a friend’s request to lend money, refusing a neighbor’s request to lend a car, and refusing a boss’s request to stay late to work extra hours). Findings generally revealed a positive relationship between proficiency and L2 Arabic learners’ appropriateness, use of refusal strategies, and multidialectal practices in their refusals. However, results showed that native speakers solely employed spoken Arabic (i.e., the dialect), while learners relied heavily on Modern Standard Arabic. Analysis of refusal strategies showed that native speakers tended to provide vague explanations in their refusals except when refusing the neighbor’s request, whereas the learners preferred to provide specific reasons for their refusals. Moreover, advanced-level learners were substantially verbose; as a result, their refusals could be perceived as lecturing or criticizing their interlocutor. This paper concludes with implications for researching and teaching L2 Arabic refusals with special attention to multidialectal practices.


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