Backward Pragmatic Transfer: The Case of Refusals in Persian

Document Type: Research Paper

Authors

University of Isfahan

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine Cook’s (2003) ‘multiple competence’ by investigating backward pragmatic transfer (from L2 [English] to L1 [Persian]) in refusals to invitations. It explored participants’ frequency and content of refusal strategies in L1 regarding the status (i.e., power and distance) of interlocutors and the proficiency level of EFL learners. The participants were Persian speakers with no knowledge of English language,and Persian EFL learners at three proficiency levels of elementary, intermediate, and advanced. Data were collected via a three -scenario role play. Results revealed significant differences between Persian native speakers and high-proficient EFL learners in terms of content and frequency of refusal strategies utilized. Concerning the different status of interlocutors, EFL learners seemed more direct and employed more specific responses to their refusals than Persian native speakers did.  Overall, this study provided some evidence for backward pragmatic transfer among EFL learners.

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