|Author(s)||Saad Al-Gahtani, Carsten Roever|
|Title||Proficiency and preference organization in second language refusals|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Interactional competence, Second language pragmatics, Refusals, Interlanguage pragmatics, Conversation Analysis|
|Journal||Journal of Pragmatics|
This study investigates the development of second language (L2) learners' interactional competence, speciﬁcally how their dispreference marking in refusals changes as their general target language competence and interactional competence increase. 30 L2 speakers of English with L1 Arabic at three proﬁciency levels and 10 native English speakers conducted dyadic role plays involving requests and refusals. With increasing proﬁciency, learners' range of interactional methods for implementing refusals as dis- preferred actions also increase. Low-proﬁciency learners showed little delay or mitigation of refusals, whereas intermediate proﬁciency learners employed “yes but” constructions and other refusal turn formats and showed incipient ability to delay the refusal by sequential means. Advanced learners exhibited more active recipiency, implemented sequential and lexical resources more precisely and conventionally, and had a larger range of methods at their disposal. English native speakers used additional methods, not found in the learner groups, most notably the prefatory particle “well”. We attribute learners' changes in interactional competence to their greater ability to formulate responses while still listening to the interlocutor, and their extensive practice with methods of conveying refusal without damaging social solidarity. We note remaining gaps in even advanced learners' competence, which may require focused instruction.