Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Semantics,vocabulary, word meaning ( exegesis )

A Contrastive Study of Refusals in Chinese and Spanish

Author WangZuo
Tutor PengShuang
School Northeast Normal University
Course Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords Refusal politeness face Discourse completion Test
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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This paper presents a survey of comparition of Chinese refusal speech acts and Spanishrefusal speech acts. Twelve scenarios of requests in everyday life are designed for eighty-fourchinese and spanish to fill in what they would say when they would rather refuse. Accordingto the statistic, refusal strategies are described and summarized both in surface level and innerlevel. Relationship between social factors and refusals is also discussed. The findings are:(1) Refusal speech acts in chinese and spanish share the similarities in the refusalstrategies but have differences in the strategy selection and details in each strategy.(2)Spanish people utter more dirrect refusal than chinese in frequency. Overallconsidered, both cultures prefer indirrect strategies.However, chinese people are likely toapply different strategies, such as expressing apology, delay or provide other advice, whilespanish are more economic. The most common mode of refusal in Chinese is:“Apology plusexcuses”;while in spanish is “only excuse” or plus dirrect refusal “no”.When explainingexcuses, spanish people like to express their own feelings and princeples,while chinese like toconcern more about the listener.(3)Results show that both chinese and spanish are much more polite to their friends, thenstranger, workmate and family member lastly. Social distance is the main factor affectingspanish refusal strategy,.On the other hand, social status decide the strategy applying inchinese.Emotion influent both chinese and spanish people, as they show more politeness tothe person they like than the dislike one. Women are less likely to reject people of highstatus.Women utter more apology and other strategies, concern more about others. Men aremore polite to refuse a friend or workmate, while women a family member.The theories appeared in this paper include the speech act theory, cooperation theory,politeness theory and face theory. This study offers a new inspiration to chinese languageteaching and helps to reduce pragmatic failure in cross-culture communication.

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