Refusal Speech Act Realization in Sarawani Balochi Dialect: A Case Study of Male University Students

Document Type : Research Paper


University of Sistan and Baluchestan


Following Beebe, Takahashi, and Uliss-Weltz’s (1990) classification, this study examines the relationship between power and gender of the addressees and the type and number of refusal strategies employed by Sarawani Baloch male university students (SBMUS). Fifty SBMUS studying in Azad University of Sarawan were randomly chosen as the participants of the study. Data collection was accomplished through applying a revised version of DCT (Discourse Completion Test). The data collected were then coded and analyzed according to Beebe et al.'s (ibid.) taxonomy, and Chi-square and Correlation test results. The results show that refusal strategies extracted, are, for the most part, similar to those given in Beebe et al.’s work, which, in turn, confirms the universality of applying refusal strategies. However, SBMUS also employ some new strategies not predicted in the given scheme, suggesting the effect of their religion and culture. Research findings also denote the ineffectiveness of power and gender of the addressees on the type of refusal strategies employed by SBMUS. Moreover, results indicate that although power of the addressees affects number of refusal strategies used by the participants, their gender does not affect this variable. “Excuse, reason, explanation” dealing with all the addressees, the combination of 3 refusal strategies in reply to those in higher social power, and the combination of 2 strategies in response to those with equal and lower power are the most frequent refusal strategies regarding the type and number of refusal strategies. 


Al-Eryani, A. A. (2007). Refusal strategies by Yemeni EFL learners. Asian EFL Journal, 9 (2). 84-101.
Allami, H., & Naeimi, A. (2011).A cross-linguistic study of refusals: An analysis of pragmatic competence development in Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 385-406.
Al-ssa, A. (2003). Sociocultural transfer in L2 speech behaviors: Evidence and motivating factors. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 27, 581–601.
Al-Shalawi, H. G. (1997). Refusal Strategies in Saudi and American cultures. (Unpublished master’s thesis). East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University.
Austin, J. (1962). How to do things with words. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Barjasteh Delforooz, B. (2010). Discourse features in Balochi of Sistan. Sweden: Uppsala Universitet.
Barker, M. A., & Mengel, A. Kh. (1969). A course in Baluchi. Montreal: Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University.
Beebe, L. M., Takahashi, T., & Uliss-Weltz, R. (1990). Pragmatic transfer in ESL refusals. In R. C. Scarcella, E. Anderson, & S. Krashen (Eds.), Developing communicative competence in a second language (pp. 55-73). New York: Newbury House.
Blum-Kulka, Sh. (1982). Learning how to say what you mean in a second language: A study of the speech act performance of learners of Hebrew as a second language. Applied Linguistics, 3, 29–59.
Elfenbein, J. (1966). The Balochi language. A Dialectology with texts. London: Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain & Ireland.
Elfenbein, J. (1989). Baluchistan iii: Baluchi language and literature. In Encyclopedia Iranica 3 (pp. 633-644). New York: Colombia University.
Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2002). Refusals in Spanish and English: A cross-cultural study of politeness strategies among speakers of Mexican Spanish, American English, and American learners of Spanish as a foreign language. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minnesota.
Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2003). Declining an invitation: A cross-cultural study of pragmatic strategies in American English and Latin American Spanish. Multilingua, 22, 225-255.
Félix-Brasdefer, J. C. (2006). Linguistic politeness in Mexico: Refusal strategies among male speakers of Mexican Spanish. Journal of Pragmatics, 38, 2158–2187.
Grierson, G. A. (1921). Linguistic survey of India X: Languages of the Eranian family. Calcutta, India: Superintendent government printing.
Hassani, R., Mardani, M. & Dastjerdi, H. V. (2011). A comparative study of refusals: Gender distinction and social status in focus. Language Society and Culture, 32, 37-46.
Jahani, C. (1989). Standardization and orthography in the Balochi language. Uppsala: Uppsala University.
Jahani, C. (2001). Balochi. In J. Garry & C. Rubino (Eds.), Facts about the world’s languages: An encyclopedia of the world’s major languages, past and present. New York: H. W. Wilson.
Jahani, C. (2003). The case system in Iranian Balochi in a contact linguistic perspective. In C. Jahani & A. Korn (Eds.), The Baloch and their neighbors, Ethnic and linguistic contact in Balochistan in historical and modern times (pp. 113-132). Wiesbaden: Reichert.
Jahani, C. & Korn, A. (2009). Balochi. In G. Windfuhr (Ed.), The Iranian Languages (pp. 634-692). London and New York: Routledge.
Katriel, T. (1986). Dugri speech: Talking straight in Israeli Sabra culture. London: Cambridge University Press.
Kwon, J. (2003). Pragmatic transfer and proficiency in refusals of Korean EFL learners. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Boston, Massachusetts: Boston University.
Morkus, N. (2009). The realization of the speech act of refusal in Egyptian Arabic by American learners of Arabic as a foreign language. Theses and Dissertations. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation).College of Education and Department of World Language Education, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Florida.
Nelson, G. L., Carson, J., Al Batal, M., El Bakary, W. (2002). Cross-cultural pragmatics: Strategy use in Egyptian Arabic and American English refusals. Applied Linguistics, 23, 163–189.
Ochs, E. (1996). Linguistic-resources for socializing humanity. In J. Gumperz & S. Levinson (Eds.), Rethinking linguistic relativity (pp. 401-431). Cambridge: C.U.P.
Pavlidou, T. (2000). Telephone conversations in Greek and German: Attending to the relationship aspect of communication. In H. Spencer-Oatey, (Ed.), Culturally speaking: Managing rapport through talk across cultures (pp. 121–140). London: Continuum.
Li, L. (2008). Requests and refusals in English and Chinese. (Doctoral dissertation). England: The University of Leeds, School of Modern Languages and Cultures.
Phuong, T. M. (2006). Cross cultural pragmatics: Refusals of requests by Australian native speakers of English and Vietnamese learners of English. (Unpublished Master’s thesis). The University of Queensland, Faculty of Arts.
Sadeghi, K., & Savojbolaghchilar, S. (2011). A comparative study of refusal strategies used by Iranians and Americans. International Journal of Academic Research, 3, 601-606.
Scollon, R., & Scollon, S. W. (2001). Intercultural Communication, (2nd ed). Malden: Blackwell.         
VonCanon, A. L. (2006). Just saying “no”: Refusing request in Spanish as a first and second language. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Iowa, IowaCity, Iowa.
Watts, R. (2003). Politeness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wierzbicka, A. (2003). Cross-Cultural pragmatics: The semantics of human interaction. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Wolfson, N., Marmor, Th., & Jones, S. (1989). Problems in the comparison of speech act across cultures. In S. Blum-Kulka, J., House, & G. Kasper (Eds.), Cross- cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies (pp.174-196). Norwood: Ablex.