Apology in Use

Ilić, Jelena (2015) Apology in Use. Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2 (2). (In Press)

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Abstract

There have been many researchers (Holmes, Brown and Levinson, Olshtain, Blum-Kulka, House, Kasper) who have devoted themselves to the analysis of one of the basic units of human linguistic communication - the act of apologizing. An apology, as argued by Holmes (1989), is seen as a face-supportive act. As such, it does not impose on thehearer’s face. It has been understood that the act of apologizing serves as a social goal of maintaining harmony between the speakers, and in order to make it convincing and workable it has to be used with appropriate strategies. Olshtain (1989) claimed that apologies do not differ drastically across languages and therefore it could be said that they are mostly universal. Interestingly enough, what Blum-Kulka, House and Kasper (1989: 21) noticed is that apologies are used with different degrees of intensity. Speakers may use intensifiers or upgraders to increase the power of their apology (‘I’m so sorry’, ‘I’m really sorry’), but they may also use other modality markers such as downgraders to avoid the use of apology and minimize their guilt (ex. I didn’t know you’d be eager to go out tonight.). Moreover, an act of apologizing might not accompany the set of realization patterns typical for apologizing and does not have to coincide with thespeaker’s pragmatic intention. ‘Sorry ‘bout that!’ is an example that one may find in contexts in which a speaker is not apologizing for something s/he did, but s/he is sarcastic or just superficially using the pattern to avoid a sincere apology. In other words, meaning does not have to be tightly connected to the pragmatic intention whatsoever. Still, the aim of this paper will be to analyze the structure of an apology using data-collection instruments, such asthediscourse completion test (DCT), rating scalesand role-plays,inorder to elicitapologetic data produced by non-native speakers who are highly proficient in English andwho are responsible for teaching and guiding young generations. The paper will examine teachers’ apologetic competences as a type of knowledge that everyone needs to acquire, process, develop, use and display on a daily basis. The analysis of teachers’ contextual perceptions and choices of apology strategies openly indicates their socio-pragmatic performance through written and oral tasks, and their pragmalinguistic performance as well. Keywords: interlanguage pragmatics, speech acts, discourse completion task, role-play data, apology strategies

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: J-FLTAL
Depositing User: Alma Milisic
Date Deposited: 25 Dec 2014 10:47
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2016 11:52
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/2815

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