Socio-ethnic stereotypes and the refusal of offers
Keywords:stereotypes, offer refusals, collectivist / group face, ethnic group, postcolonial pragmatics
The aim of this paper is to establish the impact of stereotypes directed at social and ethnic groups in interpersonal interaction in collectivist postcolonial societies. Focus is on the refusal of offers whose acceptance is otherwise supposed to be default. I illustrate using interviews conducted in two Cameroonian towns, Bamenda and Yaounde in 2009, that knowledge of socio-ethnic stereotypes plays a significant role in speakers’ decision to accept or refuse offers from people of certain ethnic background or origin. From a postcolonial pragmatics standpoint, the analysis shows that the desire to enhance in-group cohesion, adhere to societal norms and defend in-group collectivist face while attacking out-group collectivist face is salient in interlocutors’ verbal and physical behaviour.
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