Macquarie University
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The culture of Vietnamese refusing: a mixed-methods multiperspectival approach

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posted on 2022-03-28, 02:29 authored by Du Trong Nguyen
This research project aims at exploring the cultural values which condition and constrain Vietnamese refusing from different perspectives (Candlin, 1997, 2006; Candlin &Crichton, 2011a, 2013b; Crichton, 2010). Accordingly, the project is composed of three separate but interrelated studies exploring Vietnamese refusing from ethnographic-based, interactional and social psychological perspectives. The first study, drawing predominantly on interviews as the data collection tool, aims at exploring whether different native speakers of Vietnamese have different views on whether or not they would refuse in some given specific situations, and the reasoning behind such choices. The interviews were treated as social practices (Talmy, 2010; Talmy & Richards, 2011) and analysed using Sacks’ Membership Categorization Analysis (Sacks, 1974) and Goffman’s Participation Framework (Goffman, 1981). The second study seeks to explore how refusals are realised in interactions by investigating conversations taken from a Vietnamese television series. Film excerpts were subjected to Multimodal Interactional Analysis (Norris, 2004), Conversation Analysis (Hutchby & Wooffitt, 2008), and examined using Scollon’s Nexus of Practices (Scollon, 2001). The final study looks at the phenomenon in question from a social psychological perspective, using a Likert-scale questionnaire to explore how non-native speakers of Vietnamese perceive Vietnamese refusals. Analyses show that Confucian ideological and philosophical values still exert a great influence on Vietnamese people’s refusals. One important Confucian value is the hierarchical order in the family as well as in society in which each member has to fulfil his/her expected role. In addition, collectivism, patriarchy, and indirectness are also characteristics of Vietnamese society. However, in recent times the Vietnamese culture has also witnessed some degree of divergence from the traditional norms. For example, the four Confucian virtues expected for women are no longer strictly observed as before. Also, directness and rudeness have become common in everyday interactions in contemporary Vietnam. The possible impact of these social changes on the pragmatics of Vietnamese is also considered.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. The Vietnamese and their culture -- Chapter 3. Review of studies on refusing -- Chapter 4. Towards an interactional approach to pragmatic research -- Chapter 5. Methodology -- Chapter 6. Analytical frameworks -- Chapter 7. Socio-cultural affordances conditioning and constraining Vietnamese refusing -- Chapter 8. Modes of refusing and related/mediated actions -- Chapter 9. Face, facework and impoliteness -- Chapter 10. Vietnamese refusing from NNSs’ perspective -- Chapter 11. Summary and conclusion -- References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 322-351

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Human Sciences, Department of Linguistics

Department, Centre or School

Department of Linguistics

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Christopher N. Candlin

Additional Supervisor 1

Jill Catherine Murray

Additional Supervisor 2

Lynda Yates


Copyright Du Trong Nguyen 2016. Copyright disclaimer:






1 online resource (xiv, 369 pages) colour illustrations

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