Pragmatic Transfer of Iranian EFL Learners: The case of Refusals

Fatemeh Jafari, Hossein Sadeghoghlo


Many studies show that in spite of having a perfect competence in L2 grammar, learners have difficulties at pragmatic level when having a conversation with native speakers. The present study deals with pragmatic transfer of Iranian EFL learners' refusal strategies as reflected by their responses to a modified version of 10- items discourse multiple choice task. Each question in the questionnaire has three options. One of the options is correct, one is a distracter and one is an option that has been effected by learners' L1. The participants are 60 Iranian EFL learners in advanced level that haven’t been to English speaking countries. The purpose of this study is to find out the pragmatic competence of EFL learners in Iran. This study first investigates pragmatic failures that Iranian EFL learners tend to commit in understanding pragmatic multiple choice tasks and answering the questions. Then, building on the analysis of the collected data, it further discusses the amount of the pragmatic failures among Iranian EFL learners and the source of this failure. The results of the study show that all of Iranian EFL learners commit pragmatic failure and answered more than 72 percent of the questions incorrectly. The results show that almost half of the pragmatic failure of Iranian EFL learners are due to L1 interference. The results of the present study are useful for language teachers and syllabus designers.


refusal strategies, pragmatic transfer, discourse multiple choice task, Iranian EFL learners

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