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Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese

A Contrastive Analysis

Nguyen Thi My Ngan HCMC University of Education

Contrastive Analysis Course 2010 Instructor: Nguyen Ngoc Vu

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese December, 2010

Its really difficult to refuse someone when he or she offers you something or to do something, especially when youre busy or you dont want to do. You want to refuse but you dont know how to say let your friends or your listeners feel satisfied and contented. Or when your boss offers you a promotion but you feel you have no ability, how can you refuse? I hope this paper will help students understand the differences of refusing an offer in Vietnamese and English to become more proficient in their studying of English. Based on literary works either published or uploaded in the internet and English speaking materials written by native speakers, this paper studies refusals of offers to enhance the efficiency of the teaching and learning of this speech act in English and Vietnamese, create the tactfulness and flexibility in language use for both Vietnamese learners of English and English-speaking learners of Vietnamese with the maxim declared in a Vietnamese proverb: You dont have to buy words, so dont let them hurt the feeling of others. Moreover, investigating the politeness strategies of refusals and finding the similarities and differences in two languages can help the Vietnamese learners overcome the difficulties caused the interfere of two cultures when they face the sticky cases of refusing offers. It also helps to enhance and improve language communicative competence of Vietnamese learners of English.

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese

Literature review
Refusal is characterized as a response to one of the speech acts, request, invitation, offer and suggestion, rather than as an initiating act. It is a speech by which a speaker denies to engage in an action proposed by the interlocutor (Chen, Ye and Zhang, 1995) The speech act of refusal occurs when a speaker directly or indirectly say no to a request or invitation. Refusal is a face-threatening act to listener/requestor, inviter, because it contradicts his or her expectations, and it often realized through indirect strategies. Thus it requires a high level of pragmatic competence (Chen, 1996). Until now, there have been some works studying about refusals. Nguyen Phuong Chi studied some ways of refusals: nonverbal like shaking the head, brushing something aside, having a dirty look and verbal. Pham Thi Van Quyen studied the refusals of requesting in Vietnamese in comparison with English basing on some available situations. Nguyen Thi Hai studied the refusals in conversations with actions request, ask, beg, advice, invite, thank, compliment, congratulate in Vietnamese. In this paper, I will give some examples of the English and Vietnamese refusals of offers in different situations. In the whole paper, I just focus on verbal refusing an offer. I include three types of offer refusals: direct, indirect, both direct and indirect. Then I show some similarities as well as differences in refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese. The final part of the paper, I will explain the pedagogical implications of this function- refusing an offer.

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese

Refusing an offer
I) Definition:
According to Vietnamese dictionary, refusal means you dont want to accept the things you was given or offered (page 1036). For example, you refuse an offer, an invitation, a duty, ect. In Oxford Advanced dictionary, the noun refusal is an act of saying or showing that you will do not give or accept something. Offer means an act of saying that you are willing to do something for somebody or give something to somebody (Oxford dictionary, page 1052). Refusing an offer here means you are not willing or reject to do something when someone offers you to do. It also means you dont accept the offer help of someone. The communication strategies are affected by many factors, particularly Culture, especially face and politeness.

II) Types:
In this paper, I use four situations for three main types of refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese. I take the examples from the study by Ly Quy Khuong and Tran Thi Phuong Thao, 2004 . Here are four situations which I use to analyze how the listeners refuse: Situation 1: Youre very busy. Your colleague offers you to help him. You dont have time to help him, how can you refuse him? Situation 2: You bike is broken. Your friend offers to help you to take it to bike repair store. You dont want to bother him or you dont want to accept his help offer. How can you refuse him?

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese

Situation 3: You come to visit your friends house. Your friend offers you some cakes that you dont want to eat. How can you refuse her? Situation 4: You have just moved to a new flat several days. You have difficulty in unlocking the door. Your neighbor offers to help you. You dont want, how can you refuse? After each example in one language, I use the parentheses to explain the equivalent structures in another language. 1) Refusing an offer directly According to conversation theory, speech act was made appropriate to termination of their own speech is direct speech act. Some examples in Vietnamese refusals: [1] Thi. Chuyn ca mnh th t gii quyt i. Ti khng c rnh rang. ( No. You should solve your problem by yourself. Im not free)1 (situation 1) [ 2] Thi. V i. Xe ca ti ch c phi xe ca Bnh u?. ( No. Go away. Its my bike, not your bike, ok?) (situation 2) [3] Bnh ny d lm. Khng n u. ( This cake is bad. I dont want to eat). (situation 3) [4] Thi khi. Ti khng cn anh gip. ( No. I dont need your help. (situation 4) Some examples of English: [5] I cant help you. Dont bother me. ( ti khng gip anh/ ch u. ng lm phin ti(situation 1) [6] Go away. ( lm n bin i dm i). ( situation 2) [7] No, its awful. ( Khng, n gh qu) (situation 3)

Consider the

following examples to see the differences between two languages easily.

The part in parentheses in this paper is the equivalent structure in other language.

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese [8] No. go away. ( khng, i i). (Situation 4)

From the example 1 to example 6, the listeners or offered people refuse directly, bluntly and indelicately. These ways of response may hurl the informants feelings or make them be shocked. However, the number of these sentences is not much. Khuong and Thao say that almost informants suppose the use of delicate, tactful and polite language still have more effect in refusal strategies. Considering these examples to understand more: [9] Phng , xin li. Chc ti khng gip anh/ ch c ri. ( Sorry Phuong, Perhaps I cant help you) (situation 1) [ 10] Thi. Mun ri. Bnh v trc i. ( No. Its too late. You should go home, Binh) (situation 2) [11] Khng. Cm n. Mnh khng thch n loi bnh ny. ( No. Thanks. I dont like this kind of cake). (situation 3) [12] Id really like to help you, but you see Im so busy in my project. Sorry, I cant help you. ( Ti tht s rt mun gip anh/ ch. Nhng anh/ ch thy ri , ti rt bn rn lm k hoch ca mnh. Xin li, ti khng th gip anh/ch c.) (situation 1) [13] No, its alright. I can manage. ( Khng, c ri. Mnh c th t xoay s.) (situation 2) [14] No, Thank you. ( Khng, cm n) (situation 3) Moreover, unlike native speakers of English, Vietnamese sometimes likes to use proverbs of philosophy in human life when they refuse directly: Ex: Khng cn anh gip u. n nh ai ny sng i ( I dont need your help. Half the world not knows how the other half lives). (situation 4)

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese 2) Refusing an offer indirectly:

Here are some responses to three situations indirectly in Vietnamese and English: In Vietnamese, we have some examples: [15] Phng , tht s xin li. Do ny ti bn tp trung vo k hoch kinh doanh mi, s l ti ht nm nay cng cha ht bn na. David rt nhit tnh, hay anh/ ch th nh anh y xem. (Im really sorry, Phuong. This time, Im really busy to concentrate on my new project.Im afraid Im going to be busy until the end of the year. David is really ethusiatic, You can ask him to help you). (situation 1) [16] Cm n Binh, mnh dt b c m. vi li on ny chng c tim sa xe u. ( Thanks Binh, I can walk to take it. Moreover, there is no bike repair shop). (situation 2) [17] Cm n bn. Ti n cha quen loi bnh ny. ( Thanks. Im not familiar with eating this kind of cake). (situation 3) [18a] Cm n anh. Hm qua ti t m c. Phin anh, ti ngi lm. ( thanks. Yerterday I can open it. Im afraid of bothering you. (Situation 4) [18b] Ch, ch anh tt qu nhng em ngh em t m c. Cm n anh nhiu. ( Youre so kind but I think I can open it. Thank you very much. (situation 4) In English, we have some examples for refusing the offer for 4 above situations: [19a] Id like to help you, but Im really busy in my new project. Sorry. ( Ti rt mun gip anh/ch nhng ti bn lm k hoch mi ri. Thng cm nha). (situation 1)

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese

Or [19b] Sorry, Im really busy this time. ( Xin li, do ny ti bn lm). (situation 1) [20] I really appreciate your concern but I can solve this by myself. Thanks anyway. ( Ti nh gi cao s quan tm ca bn nhng ti c th t gii quyt. D sao i na cng cm n). (situation 2) [21] Well Thanks, it look delicious. But Im really full. Next time, Ill try it. ( Nhn ngon qu nhng m ti no qu. Ln sau ti s c gng th). (Situation 3) [22] Oh, Thanks. Youre so generous, but Im familiar with it ( Bn tht s ho phng lm sao, nhng ti quen vi vic ny ri).(situation 4) These involve the politeness strategy in language. Politeness is a popular phenomenon to every society, every aspect of interaction. Without politeness, life loses the good relationship between human to each other. Politeness is a culture issue which has the features of each community. Every society, every country has its own politeness principles. However, evaluating which statement is true, how to speak politely, which level is formal is regulated by each specific culture. In reality, sometimes we can achieve the effect by using this speech act instead of using other speech act. This is an indirect speech act. Indirect speech act strategies based on ability to express something indirectly and its contents are shown by the definition Direct speech act (Searle, 1975). By refusing No, I dont want to lend you my money, informant can say Sorry, My mum hasnt sent my money yet to inform that he doesnt want to help his partner. There are many opinions in the use of direct or indirect speech act. Some authors say that brief and condensed way of indirect speaking will help to express the own personality of the speakers. Moreover, its perhaps more politely than direct way of speaking. Consider two examples to realize the politeness in these utterances:

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese

Khuong anh Thao( 2004) says that most of surveyed examples in Vietnamese start with gratitude and give the explanations for their refusals or otherwise. While English sentences often start with phrases Youre so kind, youre a wonderful person or Im awfully sorry, but..., then reasons or promise of accepting the offer in the future. This ends with gratitude. Besides that, interestingly, as I have mention above, Vietnamese would like to use some sentences with the philosophy of human life that are familiar with Vietnamese to response indirectly. For examples: [23] Anh/ ch nh Advid th coi v trong khn kh mi bit bn hin. ( You can offer David to help you because hard times show whether a friend is a true friend. (Situation 1). 3) Refusing an offer both directly and indirectly: The speakers can response the others offer by combining both direct and indirect speech act. Here are some responses for four situations above: In Vietnamese: [24] Anh Phng ,Nh gii thch hm trc, ti ang c d n cn hon thnh gp nn khng th gip anh c. D khng trc tip tham gia nhng ti c th nh mt ngi khc ph gip anh/ch. Do ny anh khe khng? ( Phuong, As I explained last time, I have had a project in emergency so I cant help you. Though I dont take part in, I can have someone else to help you. How have you been). (situation 1) [25] Cm n Bnh rt nhiu. M Bnh v i v mun lm ri. Mnh t dt b c. Vi li on ng ny khng c tim sa xe u. ( Thanks Binh. You should go home because its too late. I can take it. Moreover, there is no bike repair store here). (situation 2)

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


[26] Cm n bn. Tht s mnh cha quen n loi bnh ny. Vi li mnh cn no lm. Mnh khng n na u. Ln sau nht nh mnh s n th. ( thanks. Im not familiar with this kind of cake. Im still full. I cant eat more. Ill try next time). (situation 3) [27] Ci ca ny hm qua em m c. Chc hm nay s m c. Anh khi gip em i. Khng sao u. C g em gi anh sau. Thi cng tr ri, anh v phng ng i. Chc anh ng ngon. ( I can open it yesterday. Today I can open. You dont need to help me. Dont worry for me. I will call up you later.. Its too late, you should return your room. Good night.). ( situation 4). In English: [28] In fact, Id like to help you, but Im really busy in my new project. Sorry. I cant help you. I think David can help you. ( Ti rt mun gip anh/ch nhng ti bn lm k hoch mi ri. Xin li, ti khng gip anh/ch c. ch c ) (situation 1) [29] No, thanks. Its too late now, you should go home. I really appreciate your concern but I can solve it by myself. See you later. ( thi cm n bn. tr ri bn v i. Cm n bn quan tm nhng mnh t gii quyt c). (Situation 2) [30] Thanks. It looks delicious but Im really full so Ill have to pass it. ( Cm on nh. Nhn ngon qu nhng mnh no qu ri. nh b qua n thi.). (Situation 3) [31] Youre so kind but Im familiar with it. You dont need to help me. I can manage it. Thanks ever so much. ( anh tt qu nhng ti quen vi n ri. khng cn gip ti. Ti xoay s c. cm n nhiu nh.). (Situation 4) Ti ngh David gip anh/

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


In example 23 and 27, we can find that these are not only the refusals; they are also the greetings in everyday life.

III) The Contrast between English and Vietnamese in refusing offers:

Based on the above examples and the examples in the surveys of Khuong and Thao (2007), Let see some differences in syntactic structure by the following tables and also consider the word use. The structure of direct speech act: In English : Table 1 Negative words No refusing words I dont need your help, You dont need to help me

Table 2: Negative word No Thanking Thanks, thank you, thanks ever so much Table 3: appreciation Id like to help you reasons Excuses/apology But Im too busy to help Sorry ( situation 1). you In Vietnamese: Table 3:

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese Negative word Thi Khng Khi cn Khng cn u Thanking Cm n Cm n Cm n Cm n


The structure of indirect speech act: In English: Table 4 Addressee terms Phng , Excuses/apology Thnh tht xin li reasons Ti bn ri.( situation 1). Table 5 Thanking word Reasons/ accepting Thanks. Thank you. Thank you very much. I can manage it. But I can do it by myself. But Im really full. explaining why not qu,

khng gip anh c

Table 6

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese Positive appreciation Reasons/ explaining why not accepting I really appreciate your but I can solve this by Thank any way concern A nice offer Youre so kind myself but I can open it but I can manage Thanks Thank you.

13 Thanking word

Thank you very much Thanks a lots. Table 7: Compliments/ exclamations It looks delicious Oh, What a pity! Expressing the regrets But Im really full. Ill try it next time.( situation 2) I wish I didnt eat anything before I come here. ( situation 2)

Table 8: Calming words Dont worry Never mind Reasons/ explaining why not accepting Its better now. ok ( Situation 1) Let me try. (Situation 4).

And some here are the structures of some sentences of refusing an offer in Vietnamese: Table 9: Thanking words Reasons/ explaining why

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese not accepting Nhng mnh c


Cm n Bnh Cm n bn Cm n anh nha

th t dt xe v

c. ( situation 2) Ti cha quen loi bnh ny. ( situation 3). Hm qua ti t m c, chc hm nay t m c. Table 10: The sympathies with the interlocutor Cng tr lm ri, Bnh v trc i The replacing actions mnh dt c m. ( situation 2).

Bn lm g sc m m

i. ( situation 4)

Table 11: Thanking words Cm n Philosophy of human life. Nhng n nh ai ny sng i anh . ( situation 4) Nhng n nh ai ny sng Bnh . ( situation 2)

Table 12: The person who refuses gives the Reasons/ anxiety/ worry Mnh ch s explaining for the anxiety or worry Lm phin Bnh thi.( situation 2)

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


Em khng mun

Anh m hi v nhng chuyn lt vt ny (situation 4).

The structure of both direct and indirect speech act: In both English and Vietnamese, the rate of these kinds of sentences is really rarely. ( Khuong, 2007). In English: Table 13: We can show the structure of situation 1 in direct and indirect speech act of refusing an offer like this Addressee term See example 24 above. Table 14: Negative words/phrases No No Thanking words Thanks Thanks Reasons/ explaining reasons Refusing words promise asking for information

why not accepting But I can manage Its too late now. I think you should go home. ( situation 2).

Table 15: Appreciations Youre so generous Refusing words But I dont need Thanking Thanks any way Thanks

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese Thank you In Vietnamese:


We can show the structure of situation 1 in direct and indirect speech act of refusing an offer like this Table 16 Appreciation Reasons excuses Promise/advise

See example 28 above. Table 17 Negative words/phrases Thi c ri Thanking words Cm n Bnh Reasons/ explaining why not accepting Mnh t dt b xe c ri. Table 18: Thanking words Cm n bn Cm n anh Reasons/ explaining Promising/ wishing why not accepting Ti n cha quen loi Ln sau ti nht nh bnh ny lm Chc em t mi c s n th Khuya ri, chc anh ng ngon nh. In both English and Vietnam`ese, these kinds of both direct and indirect sentences are very rare but sometimes people still like to use them in refusing an offer.

The similarities
Refusal speech act varies in directness with situation and culture but there are some similarities in refusing an offer between English and Vietnamese. Both try to abide the Cooperative Principle and Politeness

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


Principle in three main types of refusing an offer (direct, indirect, both direct and indirect). From the previous examples, therefore, to refuse an offer, the native speakers of English as well as Vietnamese learners of English have many ways of responding. They can use direct or indirect speech act or they can combine both direct and indirect. Vietnamese and English both employ the directness types. The first one is direct refusal such as No way, no thanksin English, thi, khi in Vietnamese. The next is ability of negation speech act which means the speaker doesnt have ability to accept the offer. These speech acts can be I cant in English, ti khng th gip anh..in Vietnamese. The third is indirect speech act which means refusal is performed through the other speech such as Im really busy this week in English or ti c th t m n c in Vietnamese (situation 4). Both English and Vietnamese refuse an offer by giving the reasons why not accepting or offering other occasions (see the given examples above) Politeness is the norm that people of different culture backgrounds must obey and uphold because to satisfy others face is to save your own face. Therefore, both Vietnamese and English prefer to the indirect refusal speech act in offer than the direct refusal speech act. Using direct or indirect speech act in life of Vietnamese and English both depends on many factors: age, gender, relationship, social status

Some main differences between Vietnamese and English in refusing an offer

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese mainly differ in practical strategies of word use and syntactic structure.

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


About intercultural verbal styles, Viet Nam and some other Asian countries like China, Korean, Japan belong to high-context communication. The meaning or intention is conveyed through the context and the non-verbal channels (pause, silence, tone) of the verbal message. They dont tell directly. Moreover, Vietnamese are influenced by agricultural culture and Confucianism. Therefore, they focus on the delicateness, consideration in their language use to maintain the affection and gratitude of their friends, their neighboursThese results in a diversified and various addressing system which depends on age, social status, hierarchy And this system of address of Vietnamese has more complex terms in kinship than English does such as anh,em, ch, bc, d,c, tao my, huynh, ch emWhile English people are more direct and blunt in expressing their thought and they just use personal pronoun I, You for their partners in any conversation. For example: Ch v i. Chc em khng gip c ch ri. ( situation 1) Lm sao tao gip my c trong khi tao cng ang bn ti mt ti mi. ( situation 1) I sympathy for your difficult situation but I cant help you.(situation 1) Im too busy to help you. ( Situation 1). Additionally, according to Khuong and Thao survey (2007) Vietnamese tend to use model particles such as , , nh, nh, thi, nha to express the speakers nuance. Cm n Bnh nh nhng mnh t dt xe c (situation 2). In Vietnamese culture, the face of Vietnamese involved the respect of hierarchy, the status admission of interlocutor. Therefore, politeness behavour is not only personal politeness strategies but also forcefully is the clever choice in vocabulary. Some words d, , xin, tha often appear in Vietnamese speech act of refusal when they talk to the older people (parents, grandparents, teachers).

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


Ex: D, em khng mun lm anh m hi v cnh ca ny u. (Situation 3) As I have referred above, Vietnamese often use philosophy of human life in refusing an offer while English rarely use. We know that English-speaking countries belong to low-context communication; the meaning is expressed through explicit verbal messages to help the listeners understand easily. Peoples speech acts are also embedded in the cultural background. The doctrine of collectivism and social hierarchy influenced Vietnamese, so people try to be harmonious and self-restrained in the social communication. English people are influenced by individualism and equality, so their association is more simple and direct. Li Honglin ( 2007) says that the variety of speech acts is influenced by the social distance, social power, and difficulty of acquired behavior. However, these factors dont enjoy same status in Vietnamese and English speech act of refusing an offer. Social power plays an important role in Vietnamese, so does the social distance in American English. According to Li, The cross-linguistic differences are due to basic differences in cultural values. Social hierarchy is typically illustrated in the aspects of superior and inferior social ranks, parents and children, teachers and students. Social distance is typically displayed in the relation of close relatives or friends and ordinary friends or strangers. Additionally, English people are not sensitive to social rank. English may use the same type of refusal speech acts to refuse anyone, regardless of his social status. However the selection of refusal speech acts based on social distance is quite different. The more distant the social distance, the more indirect the refusal speech acts. English possibly would use more assistant speech acts and rhetorical utterances to weaken the frankness of refusal. For instance, consider the situation 3: the speaker is offered to eat something. If his workmate offers him, the English may

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


refuse like this No, thank you. I just ate before coming, Thank you, but Im not hungry. If his workmates mother offers, the refusal speech acts may be Its very nice of you, but Im full, Thank you. It smells delicious. But I have just had meal, Oh, thanks. Ive eaten already. And Im full now. I cant eat any more. The later refusal speech acts have the associative and rhetorical utterances such as Its very nice of you, It smells delicious. Those utterances alleviate the refusal impact. Vietnamese is just on the opposite. They consider the social order, so the refusal bases on relationship, social status, agethat result in the speech act of refusing an offer of Vietnamese is quite different in each situation. That means directness of the speech act of refusing an offer varies and depends on whom they speak to in each situation such as friends, parents, lover For example, Vietnamese refuse their friends tao khng n u, or refuse their mother con no lm ri m i or refuse their lover em khng n ni na, no lm ri. And therefore, the addressee words also change such as tao, em, con while English just use I or me. This contributes to make Vietnamese have more nuances. Moreover, according to Dngs surveys, In indirect refusal of an offer, although both English and Vietnamese refuse an offer by giving the reasons, the reasons of Vietnamese are brief and they dont attach anything more. But sometimes, the English try to replace the reasons by dilemma which make the refusing be softer and the partner doesnt lose face or feel hurled or offence. A remarkable point is that the English tend to attach the regrets of not accepting the offer while Vietnamese are rare to use them. Consider the following examples: Oh,What a pity! Im really full now. I cant eat any more. I have categorized the forms of refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese by 18 tables above. Considers these 18 tables we can see the syntactic structure of some sentences of refusing an offer in English is

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


mainly different in word order. Each culture uses different word order to express their thoughts. For instances, If we look back the examples of situation 1, we can see While Vietnamese tend to use the politeness mode of refusing an offer like Addressee term+ apology+ reasons, English tend to use question attentiveness strategy. They try to employ different refusal strategies in other that the problems in questions can be solved. A mode of polite refusing an offer is I would like to+ reasons+ apology. An example in Vietnamese: Phng , thnh tht xin li, ti bn qu chc khng gip anh c.( situation 1). An example in English: I would like to help you but Im really busy. Sorry Therefore, the contrastive analysis of refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese shows that there are no consistent similarities in any functions between Vietnam and English. From the above examples and the analysis of their structures, we can draw some conclusions about the differences between two languages: Firstly, refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese also has a few of common characteristics in structures and contents of the general refusals, but it also has some own characteristics. Secondly, a sentence of refusing an offer in English is simpler and has fewer variants than its equivalent structure in Vietnamese. Thirdly, a sentence of refusing an offer in Vietnamese is more complicated than its equivalent structure in English. Last but not least, a great number of variants of refusing an offer in Vietnamese make it have more nuances in structure than its equivalent structure in English. This helps the language learners to express more nuances in their thought when they have a conversation.

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


Therefore, in learning language, we consider the different languages not to base on whether these languages can express what kinds of meanings, but we consider them base on whether some expressed languages are forced to have some meanings which other languages dont need to express without necessity.

IV) Pedagogical implications:

Learning language is a form of activity that involves many of the cultural and social factors. When the learners practices communication in new language, the habits in culture become the second characteristics that can become advantages or disadvantages in their learning and practicing communication. Vietnamese learners of English have difficulty not only in the differences in language and non-language factors but also in language style, approach strategiesIn this paper, we refer to refusing an offer, one of the functions of English. Therefore, besides the language competence and the knowledge about culture of country, the teachers of language need the knowledge about the communicative style or the culture of the learners. This helps the teachers understand the difficulties of the learners and adjust the appropriate methods, techniques of teaching to create the connection between the learning and teaching. In fact, the differences in language of communicative behaviors can cause cultural interferences that have negative influences on the teaching and learning task. Therefore, foreign language teachers should be aware of these distinctive features to help learners overcome the psychological and cultural barriers in the teaching and learning process. Teacher need to make students be aware of specific speech acts sets and the accompanying linguistic features that are necessary to produce appropriate and well-received refusals. This paper gives further relevance to the importance of the understanding of speech acts across cultures and the fact that the

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


understanding or lack there of can hinder or strengthen the communication exchanges between cultures. This paper could be especially relevant for teachers of foreign or second languages as it further supports the idea that language, particularly in speech acts, is laden with culture. Speech acts include real-life interactions and require not only knowledge of the language but also appropriate use of that language within a given culture. Teaching the cultural aspects of discourse is a vital part of our duty as teachers to aid our students in becoming successful second or foreign language speakers. A lack of understanding of politeness strategies in different languages and cultures can, as with inappropriate use of certain speech acts, be a cause of cross-cultural pragmatic failure. Situations are complicated when, as is common today with the use of English as an international language, speakers using language which is not their native language may be extremely unsure as to the cultural implications of much of what they are saying. Thus as a being teacher, I will try to help the students overcome the difficulties in studying second language, especially in studying English function of refusing an offer: Firstly, teacher should give students the simple examples of this function and explain their use clearly. Many things can happen in conversation that no one can predict. Teacher should also try to provide students with some of the common patterns that English speakers use everyday and also help students to build their vocabulary to include these patterns and phrases. The teacher also shows functional connection between refusals and offers and explains to students some useful phrases of refusing an offer that are often used. Moreover, we should instruct students when to use three types of refusing an offer appropriately in each situation.

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


Secondly, teacher should draw students attention to politeness and rudeness of refusing an offer and encourage students employ the politeness strategies if they want to achieve the success in communication. This helps improve students language competence. Last but not least, teacher can design many tasks which provide students with opportunities to practice them in short exchanges, dialogs and conversations or teacher can conduct some activities like role play that make students use the patterns of refusing an offer and helps them remember these pattern longer. From these activities students not only practice the patterns, but also practice pronunciation, vocabulary and how to respond correctly in conversation because Experience is the best teacher. (Trm hay khng bng tay quen), practice makes perfect. Moreover, if students are given many chances to speak and are encouraged frequently, theyll be more confident to speak the second language in many situations like their mother tongue. Then they relate the English refusals in the situations to Vietnamese ones to see the similarities and differences of refusing an offer in two languages. Therefore, confusing or language transfer between English and Vietnamese can be avoided effectively.

V) Conclusion
In conclusion, the refusal especially refusing an offer is one of the most important functions of English and Vietnamese. Some linguists say, that functions only express the intention or purpose of a speech act, other think that your social role, the setting, the topic or even the mood you are in are criteria for choosing the right function to express yourself effectively. So I can say this contrastive analysis of refusing an offer is really useful and important in communication and it also has many teaching implications in learning a second language. From the data of previous surveys, I collect the statistics of the examples and draw the results. Because of the limits of

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


time and the data, I just show the examples of refusing an offer. And from that I analyze the structure of these examples. I mainly focus on some basic points that are the syntactic structure and word use to contrast. On the whole, from this paper, we can see some differences and similarities in refusing an offer between English and Vietnamese. I hope that this paper is useful for the students and the teachers of English. Understanding the interrelation between two languages helps the learners acquire second language effectively and improve their language everyday.

Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


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Refusing an offer in English and Vietnamese


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