Not Just a “Bu”: Perception and Production of Chinese-as-Foreign-Language (CFL) learners’ Face-threatening Speech Acts of Refusal


Speech Act, Refusal, Perception, Production, Communicative Competence


This study looks at refusal, one of the important face-threatening speech acts (FTAs) of human communication, and investigates how intermediate to advanced Chinese-as-Foreign-Language (CFL) learners’ perception of the correctness and appropriateness of refusal relates to their production, in both L1 context with native speakers of English and in L2 context with speakers of Chinese. Through a modified Discourse Completion Test (DCT) and a CFL learners’ demographic survey, this study examines how similarly or differently the participants perform the speech acts of refusal in both L1 and L2 contexts, the possible reasons behind the discrepancy or deviation, the role of pragmatic transfer, possibility of cross-cultural misunderstanding. Finally the implications for language teaching are discussed.