Apology Strategies Employed by Saudi EFL Teachers

Marzouq Nasser Alsulayyi


This study examines the apology strategies used by 30 Saudi EFL teachers in Najran, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), paying special attention to variables such as social distance and power and offence severity. The study also delineates gender differences in the respondents’ speech as opposed to studies that only examined speech act output by native and non-native speakers of English. To this end, the study employs a Discourse Completion Task (DCT) that consists of 10 situations designed to test how the respondents would react if they imagine that they belong to different types of social status whether higher, lower or equal. In addition, social distance and power have been taken into consideration in designing the ten situations included in the test used in this study. The results reveal that Illocutionary Force Indicating Device (IFID) is the most used apology strategy by the Saudi respondents followed by downgrading responsibility (DR), upgrader, offer of repair, taking on responsibility and then verbal redress. The results also reveal that gender has a great impact on the use of apology strategies in various ways. For instance, the IFID strategy and the upgrader strategy are used by males more than their female counterparts, whereas females use the DR strategy more than their male counterparts. It has been argued that some of the respondents’ answers to the test were influenced by their mother tongue, as reported in previous studies conducted on apology strategies. The study discusses the results elicited via the DCT and compares them with those of previous studies on apology strategies and other speech acts. Finally, the study concludes with recommendations for further research.

Keywords: pragmatics, apology strategies, Saudi EFL teachers, interlanguage pragmatics, target culture

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