The Refusal Speech Act in Russian Everyday Speech (Considering the Social Relations Aspect)

2019. № 5, 79-92

Cui Lili, Saint-Petersburg State University (Russia, Saint-Petersburg),


The article discusses speech acts of refusal, which are realized by
means of a non-particular (acting as a non-particle) word net in Russian
oral speech. The article focuses on social relationship of the speakers. The
context analysis was based on the samples from Russian everyday speech
corpus “One Speaker’s Day”, which is one of the most representative sources
for the study of contemporary Russian oral discourse.
As a result of the analysis we selected and qualifi ed various ways of expressing
the speech act of refusal, detected cases of categorical and noncategorical
refusal to respond to a request or a suggestion and traced the impact of
social relationship of the speakers to such type of refusal.
The whole analysis is based on the ratio of the speaker’s and the listener’s
(interlocutor’s) speech acts. The article considers the cases of symmetrical
(equal) and asymmetrical (unequal) social relationships between the interlocutors.
We analyzed a number of contexts which include the word net
acting as a non-particle. The contexts were extracted from transcripts of 89 macro-episodes, which were recorded from 24 informants and their communicators
(more than 26 hours of the recording, 257 639 word-usages).
The results of this study can be used not only to complete a full description
of refusal speech acts, but also to teach Russian as a foreign language and
to study speech communication.