Strategies of Accepting Invitations and Offers in Arabic and English: A Cross-cultural Study


ABSTRACTThis study investigates the similarities and differences between Arabic and English strategies of accepting invitations and offers from a cross-cultural perspective. It tackles the problem of how people respond to and accept invitations and offers as politeness phenomena in the societies of collectivistic (Arabic) and individualistic (English) cultures. Having the sense of indebtedness, the invitee or the offeree needs to show the proper deference and find the suitable words to express his appreciation sufficiently when s/he accepts an invitation or an offer. This study also attempts to categorize the various strategies used by the speakers of the two languages. The study is based on the hypothesis that Arabic and English belong to two different cultures and reflect different cultural norms carried through the acceptance expressions. The findings and conclusions arrived at prove that there are more differences than similarities among the Iraqi Arab and American English speakers in accepting invitations and offers. It is also proved that Arab speakers employ certain strategies that do not exist in English, and English speakers use strategies that are specific to their culture.