Saying no: An investigation of Hong Kong tertiary learners’ pragmatic competency on refusal

Yin Ping WONG

Research output: ThesisHonours Projects (HP)


This project aims at investigating Hong Kong tertiary students’ pragmatic competency on making a refusal. Pragmatic competency, which refers to the ability to use language appropriately in a social context” (Taguchi, 2009, p.1), is an important area of the language competence but it is rarely addressed in teaching and learning of the English Language in formal curriculum in Hong Kong. Previous studies (e.g. Han & Burgucu-Tazegul, 2016; Huwari & Al-Shboul, 2015; Jiang, 2015; Lin, 2014) have also shown that it is difficult for people who learn a second or foreign language to make refusals while most native speakers of English tend to be direct in making a refusal by saying “no” right away. Although there have been previous studies exploring Chinese EFL learners’ refusal patterns, the way how Hong Kong tertiary students’ make refusals was relatively less investigated. In order to fill this research gap, a discourse completion test (DCT) was conducted and students were asked to write down the responses that they would make to refuse three requests. The results showed that Hong Kong tertiary students still applied more indirect strategies when refusing and they mostly included excuse, reasons and explanations in their refusals. Moreover, the nature of the requests in the DCT also influenced the refusal strategies given by the students.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationBachelor of Education (Honours)
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (English Language) (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B059
  • Course code: ENG4905


Dive into the research topics of 'Saying no: An investigation of Hong Kong tertiary learners’ pragmatic competency on refusal'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.