Strategies in Forming the Speech Act of Refusals of Non-Native English Speakers and Native English Speakers in Entry-Level Customer Service Positions in Canada

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Lapierre, Neil




Being able to refuse - decline requests, offers, invitations or suggestions - is necessary in the workplace. Native English speakers (NES) and non-native English speakers (NNES) often use different strategies to form the speech act of refusals (Riddiford & Holmes, 2015). This study investigates the refusal strategies of NESs (n = 5) and NNESs (n = 5) in Canadian customer service. Six role-plays were conducted to determine the refusal strategies of both groups. Stimulated recall interviews (SRI) provided insights into the participants' use of these strategies. Role play analysis show both groups use reason/explanation the most. NES formed successful refusals more often than NNES. During the SRIs NES were concerned about workplace expectations, and the difficulty of refusing while NNES voiced justifications for refusing. SRIs also uncovered that NNES and NES may use the same strategy for different reasons. Pedagogical implications for language learners working in customer service are given.






Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 

Thesis Degree Level: 


Thesis Degree Discipline: 

Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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