Pragmatics in Arabic needs to be studied for two main reasons: first, the large cultural difference between American and Middle Eastern society; and second, the recent surge in demand for Arabic speakers in the US. Especially in regard to refusals, what is acceptable in America is rarely acceptable in Arabic speaking countries. There are very few occasions when refusal of an offering of food or other hospitalities is acceptable. Arab culture requires one to provide family members with anything they need, including money. If that is not possible it is required to find the means for what they need. American culture permits one to deny help in certain circumstances, but Arab culture does not. The inability of the US to meet its demand for Arabic speakers demonstrates the importance of research in Arabic pragmatics. Whenever the Middle East is at the forefront of world-wide media, the demand for Arabic instruction in the US increases. Since September 11th, the Middle East has been in the forefront of the news, causing an unprecedented rise in need for Arabic programs. Study abroad programs have the ability to help universities prepare their students both linguistically and culturally. This study examines Brigham Young University's Fall 2004 Egypt study abroad program and how its students were able to improve their knowledge of Arabic pragmatics.



College and Department

Humanities; Center for Language Studies



Date Submitted


Document Type





study abroad, Arabic, pragmatics, refusals, Egypt