This study falls in the area of cross-cultural pragmatics because it compares how speakers of American English and speakers of Italian refuse a request. We used a guided conversation protocol to elicit refusals to a request. The results show marked differences between the two groups. Speakers of American English tend to rely on Positive face strategies (praise, encouragement) to mitigate their refusals. In contrast, speakers of Italian tend to use Negative face strategies: lengthy explanations combined with apologies. Both groups used avoidance strategies, but speakers of American English were less likely to offer detailed explanations that require the disclosure of personal information. These findings show that pragmatic strategies to perform speech acts might vary significantly even when we compare groups from two different Western countries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language