Refusal Strategies Among Omani EFL Students

Rahma Al-Mahrooqi*, Khalsa Al-Aghbari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


The main objective of this study was to investigate the refusal speech act among Omani EFL college students. It examined how they refused in various situations and whether their responses were appropriate in terms of culture and accurate in terms of language. Forty-one English as foreign language (EFL) learners completed a Discourse Completion Test (DCT) consisting of 12 scenarios by supplying written refusals to three requests, three suggestions, three invitations, and three offers. Students’ responses were rated by two professors: one a native English speaker and the other not. A convenient sampling procedure was employed. The findings indicated that students’ responses were largely inappropriate and inaccurate. Further examination showed that they were heavily influenced by the students’ culture, many being mere translations of refusal responses in Omani Arabic. Others were inappropriate because they were too direct, due to students’ lack of knowledge of the role of social status when issuing refusals to a person of high status. Language mistakes were mainly in the sentence structure, which affected the meaning clarity. Findings suggest that, to help students become better communicators in English, it is important to teach them directly the most common speech acts, especially those they might frequently use in their everyday conversations with professors and classmates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2016


  • EFL
  • Oman
  • communication
  • pragmatics
  • refusal strategies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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