18 巻 (2013) p. 137-150
In any social interaction, participants risk losing face. In particular, refusing a friend's request or kind invitation can represent a major face-threatening act and hurt the addressee's feelings. Refusals usually include a series of semantic formulas. When responding negatively to an invitation to a family party, for instance, we would say, "I'd love to, but I havesome work to do. Maybe some other time." Thus, a positive statement is followed by the reason and an alternative. The negotiation will be longer and more elaborate depending on the social factors and what the speaker is going to refuse. Indirect speech acts are often preferred and adjuncts are added in order to redress the face-threatening behavior. This paper first discusses how Japanese learners of English refuse a request and an offer. Some of the distinctive features are (1) adjuncts are less frequently used, (2) the reasons are ambiguous, and (3) an expression of apology appears too often. The refusal scenes from films and dramas are then observed and analyzed in terms of social factors and semantic formulas, and compared with data from the Japanese learners. Finally, effective refusal strategies are introduced in classroom practice.