The Perception of Status: The Refusal Strategies as Articulated by Tunisian EFL Teachers and British Speakers of English

Nasser Alasmari


The current research aims to find out if the perception of status is culture related. To this end, it compares the refusal strategies articulated by two groups of people namely, Tunisian EFL teachers who are currently working at the University of Jeddah and a group of British speakers when communicating with others with higher, equal, or lower status than theirs.  Results indicated that the Tunisian group is much more sensitive to status than their British counterparts. The former group uses indirect refusal strategies with interlocutors of equal or higher positions but is more direct in expressing objection when talking to people with lower positions. By contrast, the British are found to be less sensitive to status as their answers were consistent irrespective of their interlocutors’ status. As a matter of fact, social status for the British group has nothing to do with the educational level or occupation while the opposite is true for the Tunisian group. The findings of the present paper are congruent with other studies which compared the Western and the Arab perceptions of status and found that the latter’s sensitivity to status originates from socio- cultural norms which underpins hierarchical social relationships.

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World Journal of English Language
ISSN 1925-0703(Print)  ISSN 1925-0711(Online)

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