Chinese Language Teaching Methodology and Technology

Author Name in Chinese


Author Affiliation

The Ohio State University

English Abstract

This paper discusses the implicit function of refusal expressions that has been used by Chinese native speakers when responding to people’s offerings. By analyzing three conversations regarding how Chinese people have accepted people’s offerings during different time periods (1960’s, 1980’s, and 2000’s), the author argues that the verbal refusal in reacting to people’s offerings (especially gifts) does not literally mean “No, I don’t want it.” Instead, it is a way to show humility, politeness, and respect to the gift giver, and it functions as an implicit form of acceptance. By referring to three excerpts chosen from The Book of Rites (Liji禮記), the author demonstrates the Chinese cultural values and cultural themes, focusing on what Chinese people say and do to show respect and politeness when dealing with gifts or other friendliness related offerings. The paper finds two pedagogical implications:1) it is the instructor’s responsibility to highlight the verbal and non-verbal behaviors that both native speakers and language learners do not ordinarily notice in language class, and 2) the repetitive contextualized performances in different levels of learning are necessary and play crucial roles in teaching and learning.

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