Linguistic Politeness in Indonesia: Refusal Strategies among School-Aged Children in the Indonesian Context

Nurlaksana Eko Rusminto, Farida Ariyani


Literature asserts that when children attempt to master a language, they display characteristics that are distinct from those of adults. They develop structures, patterns, and rules of their own language in this way. Moreover, a number of experts have proposed that in speech acts, speakers do not always intend to achieve personal objectives, i.e. to obtain something, but also attempt to maintain good relations with their speech partner and ensure interactions run smoothly. According to our knowledge, this topic among schoolchildren has received less attention recently. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the politeness strategies employed by school-aged children when conveying specific refusals to their speech partners, it was necessary to conduct this current study on this phenomenon. This study utilized a qualitative methodology. Forty children between the ages of six and ten provided speech samples. Observation and field notes were utilized to collect the data. The collected data were subsequently analyzed using an interactive analysis model that included data collection, data presentation, data reduction, and conclusion drawing. The findings indicate that children use politeness strategies to avoid offending their speech partner, to avoid losing face, and to keep the conversation going. There are eight distinct categories of politeness strategies: (1) refusing by questioning; (2) refusing by delaying; (3) refusing by requesting an apology; (4) refusing by offering an alternative task; (5) refusing by involving a third party; (6) refusing by suggesting a replacement; (7) refusing by stating conditional sentences; and (8) refusing by returning the command to the interlocutor. Also provided are implications and limitations for future research.


Linguistic Politeness; Refusal Strategies; School-Age Children; Communication; Indonesia

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