GENDER AND THE REALIZATION OF REFUSALS: EVIDENCE FROM A PAKISTANI UNIVERSITY ENGLISH LANGUAGE CLASSROOM
The core concern of this study is to explore the refusal speech act strategies that male and female Pakistani undergraduate English language learners employ in classroom discourses. Undoubtedly, the significance of learning pragmatics cannot be simply overlooked while considering the notion of refusal, carried out in our daily interactions across different situations. Hence, the researchers have tried to examine gender roles in their use of the strategies and finally explore any difference (if any) in the pattern of strategies employed by male and female participants. Based on Lakoff’s (1975) notion of difference approach, the researcher benefited from a qualitative mode of inquiry for investigating each refusal act which was analyzed and interpreted according to the taxonomy developed by Beebe et al. (1990). Therefore, sixty undergraduate students, both males, and females were purposively selected. Refusal data were collected using a written discourse completion test, oral role-plays, and retrospective verbal reports. Concerning gender differences, it was found that female participants from both groups are prone more to use indirect refusal strategies, and sustained politeness than male respondents. Furthermore, it was observed that female participants were found predisposed in the employment of indirect refusal strategies not only to save the interlocutors’ face during the interaction but also to evade the face-threatening act and it was evident that the male respondents tended to use direct refusal. Therefore, L2 learners need to be taught the pragmatic norms on the basis of gender differences which utterly need a certain application in the English language classroom.