spaceCenter for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)

Summary of Strategies

Let’s review all the apologizing strategies we have seen in the exercises.

  • The strategies in red are core apologizing strategies, without which your utterance wouldn’t be recognized as an apology

  • The strategies appearing in blue are particularly important supporting strategies that can enhance or expand upon your apology.

  • You will see in black additional strategies that can also help you perform apologies, but they are not essential.

  • The strategies in green are general strategies that can be applied not only to apologies but also to other speech acts.



 Making the refusal statement

  • Making the refusal statement (all exercises)
  • Using appropriate refusal expressions according to the interlocutor and the situation (Ex. 1, 5, 6, 7, 9, all others)


 Abiding by the cultural norms for refusing

  • Using generic reasons when appropriate (Ex.2, 3, 5)
  • Using a white lie as a face-saving strategy (Ex.2, 3, 5)
  • Speaking honestly with close friends (Ex.2, 3, 5)
  • Making ‘ritual refusals’ before accepting an offer (Ex. 6)


 Using an appropriate level of politeness throughout the interaction (Ex. 1, 2, 5, 9)


 Using strategies of refusals

  • Making the refusing statement (all exercise)
  • Providing a reason for the refusal (Ex. 1, 2, 5, 7, 9)
  • Offering an alternative (Ex. 5, 7, 9)
  • Apologizing/Stating regret (Ex. 7, 9)
  • Promising future acceptance (Ex. 7)
  • Making an unspecific reply (Ex. 7)
  • Postponing a response (Ex. 7)
  • Stating positive feelings (Ex. 7)


 Using an appropriate tone of voice

  • Alerting the hearer as to the upcoming refusal
  • Speaking hesitantly (Ex. 8, 9)
  • Stating positive feelings
  • Apologizing
  • Leaving the refusal sentence incomplete (Ex. 4, 8)
  • Using bows in formal refusals (Ex. 8)

Learning Strategies for All Speech Acts


Finding an informant (a native or non-native expert of the culture) who can answer your questions regarding sociolinguistic or sociocultural norms in the target language/culture.


Listening to other speakers carefully to observe the cultural norms and language of their speech.  Making your own hypotheses or hunches regarding appropriate use of the target language and being willing to renew them as necessary. 


Finding resources that can inform you of the target language and culture.




Beebe et al. (1990), Ikoma, T., & Shimura, A. (1993), Kanemoto, M. (1993), Kawate-Mierzejewska (2002), Kitao, S. K. (1996), Laohaburanakit (1995, 1997), Moriyama (1990), Naitou (1997), Sameshima (1998), Shigeta (1974), Shimura (1995), Ueda (1974)


View the Annotated Bibliography
of the Articles Used to Create the Exercises

View More Information about Refusals

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