How to express politeness is an important issue for language learners. The aim of the study is to investigate the refusal strategy use of female EFL (English as a Foreign Language) learners at a Discourse Completion Task (DCT). 82 EFL learners participated in the study, and 62 of the participants completed the English DCT and were B1.2 (intermediate level) learners. 20 of the participant completed the Turkish DCT and were A2 (beginner level) learners. The DCTs were completed during class time. After the DCT, follow-up interviews were conducted with randomly selected 10 participants who completed the English DCT. The data were analyzed qualitatively and in frequency bases. The data were coded by two coders for reliability. The findings showed that stating reason and regret were the most preferred strategies while refusing and the participants who completed the English DCT used more various strategies than the participants who completed the Turkish DCT. Power was another consideration in deciding on the refusal strategy use. When compared, both data sets presented both similar and different semantic formulas in refusing the given situations. At the end of the study, it is suggested that more attention should be paid in teaching pragmatic knowledge to EFL learners and authentic material and DCT activities can be used for enhancing pragmatic awareness for language learner.
Politeness, refusal strategies, pragmatic competence.