Publication details [#58379]

Morkus, Nader. 2014. Refusals in Egyptian Arabic and American English. Journal of Pragmatics 70 : 86–107.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This study shows marked quantitative and qualitative differences in refusal realization between native Egyptian Arabic speakers and native American English speakers in both equal and unequal status situations. Data were obtained via context-raised role plays comprising six refusal situations of requests and offers. For example, the Egyptians used more words and turns, and were especially prolix and indirect when interacting with a higher status person. Whilst Egyptians chose family oriented reasons to back their refusals, the Americans tended to employ personal reasons. In individual refusal strategies, the Americans preferred expressions of regret and gratitude whereas the Egyptians tended to employ religious expressions and proverbs. The discerned discourse-level differences were more striking in interactions with someone higher in standing.