Jiang Qingchuan
Ph. D. student,
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv




Any language is not only a part of the culture but also its carrier. Different national languages embody their unique traditional culture and at the same time are a reflection of the national way of thinking of their speakers, national customs, social values, etc. According to the division into “high-context” and “low-context” cultures, which was proposed by Edward T. Hall (1959), China and Japan appear to be the representatives of high-context culture. That is, in Chinese and Japanese languages, only a small part of the information is transmitted verbally, while the main part of it is provided through the context and circumstances of communication. Refusal is such a speech act that threatens the face of all communication participants. Therefore, in Chinese and Japanese lingual cultures, the vague speech act of refusal is usually used, on the one hand, to reduce the threat of losing face by both counterparties; on the other hand, to maintain good interpersonal relations. However, each of the two languages has its own typological and cultural characteristics, and in this article, the author sets the main goal – to find out the similarities and differences between the Chinese and Japanese vague refusal speech acts based on the grammatical and cultural peculiarities of the languages in focus.

Keywords: high-context culture, low-context culture, refusal speech act, vague refusal, face-threatening act.


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