APOLOGY IN USE
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 facesupportive act. As such, it does not impose on hearer’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 using 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 speaker’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 as discourse completion test (DCT), rating scales and role-plays, in order to elicit apologetic data produced by non-native speakers who are highly proficient in English and who are responsible for teaching and guiding young generations. Indeed, 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.
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