A comparative analysis on making polite apologies in english and vietnamese from the cross-cultural perspective

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i STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP I certify that the work presented in this research report has been performed and interpreted solely by myself. I confirm that this word is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the B.A. Degree and has not been submitted elsewhere in any other form for the fulfillment of any other degree or qualification. Dong Thap, April 2012 Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung ii ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS During the process of carrying out the study, I have received a large amount of contribution and support from many people. First, I would like to send my heartfelt thanks to Dean and all the lectures of the Foreign Language Department of Dong Thap University who gave me a chance to study the thesis. Second, I would like to express my greatest and sincerest appreciation to Mrs. Huynh Cam Thao Trang, M.A, and my supervisor, for her precious advices, guidance, and support in the pursuance of this study. Last but not least, I am grateful to my two friends Phan Thanh Tan and Nguyen Van Trong for what they have done to help me finish the study. iii ABSTRACT This paper investigates how similarly and differently native speakers of English and Vietnamese use apologies politely in terms of cross-cultural perspective in the light of 3 apology strategies including: getting attention, rejecting a request or an invitation and admitting guilt with an explanation basing on the previous study of Mrs. Huynh Cam Thao Trang (2009) as a foundation for research. The data are collected by books, questionnaire and interview. The questionnaire is obtained with 20 Vietnamese participants and 20 English participants including American, Australian, Canadian and English. The interview is also delivered to 20 English participants and 20 Vietnamese participants. The participants for questionnaire and interview are different. Their responses then are analyzed separately to identify the types of apology structure and to measure the degree of frequency in giving apologies. The study is of a descriptive nature. Frequencies, percentages and the means of these percentages are considered. The prime findings of the study reveal that Vietnamese and English native speakers are nearly similar in the choice of apology forms appropriate in admitting guilt with an explanation and different in the degree of using apologizing words. The Vietnamese native speakers less give apologies than native speakers of English. It seems that the English native speakers give apologies more politely than Vietnamese people but in Vietnamese culture instead of using apologizing word Vietnamese people have different ways of speaking to show the politeness. iv ABBREVIATIONS n total number (n=1) total number of participants is 1 p. page Per. percentage S situation T.N total number v TABLE OF CONTENT Page STATEMENT OF AUTHORSHIP ................................................................................ i ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .......................................................................................... ii ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................ iii ABBREVIATIONS ......................................................................................................iv TABLE OF CONTENT................................................................................................. v CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION ............................................................................... 1 1. Motivation of the study........................................................................................ 1 2. Aims of the study ................................................................................................. 2 3. Research methods ................................................................................................ 3 4. Scope of the study ................................................................................................ 3 5. Significance of the study ...................................................................................... 3 6. Previous study ...................................................................................................... 3 7. Organization of the thesis .................................................................................... 4 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................................................... 5 1. Speech acts ............................................................................................................ 5 2. Speech acts and Politeness ..................................................................................... 6 2.1. Politeness ........................................................................................................ 9 2.1.1. Definition of politeness ............................................................................ 9 2.1.2. Politeness across cultures ....................................................................... 10 2.1.3. “Politeness- directness- indirectness” in apologizing .............................. 11 3. Speech acts of apology ........................................................................................ 12 3.1. Definitions of apologies ................................................................................ 13 vi 3.2. Apologizing forms in English and Vietnamese .............................................. 16 3.3. Apology strategies ........................................................................................ 19 3.3.1. Strategy 1: Getting attention ................................................................... 19 3.3.2. Strategy 2: Rejecting a request or an invitation ....................................... 21 3.3.3. Strategy 3: Admitting guilt with an explanation ...................................... 22 CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY ............................................................................ 24 1. Research questions .............................................................................................. 24 2. Research participants ........................................................................................... 24 3. Research procedure.............................................................................................. 25 4. Research instruments ........................................................................................... 25 4.1. Questionnaire ................................................................................................ 26 4.2. Interview....................................................................................................... 26 4.3. Books analysis .............................................................................................. 27 5. Method of data analysis ....................................................................................... 27 5.1. Statistic ......................................................................................................... 27 5.2. Compare and contrast.................................................................................... 27 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS AND DISCUSSION ........................................................... 29 1. An overview of results ......................................................................................... 29 1.1.2. Situation 2 .............................................................................................. 34 1.1.3. Situation 3 .............................................................................................. 35 1.1.4. Situation 4 .............................................................................................. 36 1.1.6. Situation 6 .............................................................................................. 37 1.2. Results of interview ...................................................................................... 39 1.2.1. Getting attention ..................................................................................... 39 1.2.2. Rejecting a request or an invitation......................................................... 43 vii 1.2.3. Admitting guilt with an explanation ....................................................... 45 3.2. Discussion .................................................................................................... 58 3.2.1. Similarities ............................................................................................. 58 3.2.2. Differences ............................................................................................. 60 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION.................................................................................... 63 1. Summary ............................................................................................................. 63 2. Results ................................................................................................................. 64 3. Suggestions ......................................................................................................... 65 REFERENCES............................................................................................................ 67 APPENDICES ..........................................................................................................viii APENDIX 1 ..............................................................................................................viii APENDIX 2 ................................................................................................................. x APENDIX 3 ............................................................................................................... xii APENDIX 4 .............................................................................................................. xiv 1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1. Motivation of the study Commonly language is an important part of culture, and a culture is reflected through its language. A piece of culture can be referred to, but it is differently interpreted. In the broadest sense, language is also the symbolic representation of a person, since it comprises his/her historical and cultural background, as well as his/her approach to life and his/her ways of living and thinking. Brown (1994: 165) describes that “a language is a part of a culture and a culture is a part of a language; the two are intricately interwoven so that one cannot separate the two without losing the significance of either language or culture”. In a word, culture and language are inseparated, so foreign language learning is foreign culture learning. As a result, nowadays learning a foreign language does not only learn syntactic structures or learn new vocabulary and expressions but also incorporate some cultural elements intertwined with language itself. As Vietnam is integrating many countries around the world, learning English is getting more and more important and essential. English has been used as an international language all over the world and as a means of communication with different purposes. However, to succeed in communication is not easy since every society has its own sociocultural and communicative behaviors. The difficulty is that understanding how to communicate effectively with individuals who speak another language or who rely on different means to reach communicative goal. It is, therefore, perhaps the most important for people to realize that a basic understanding of cultural diversity is the key to effective cross-cultural communications. In daily life, people take plenty of actions to communicate with others, for example, thanks, apologies, greetings, invitations, compliments, requests or complaints which can be done both verbally and non-verbally. There have been many conflicts of the world are caused as result of the lack of cross –culture knowledge. Take speech acts of apology as an example. An apology is one of the cultural features that people who learn English need to pay attention to. It is an 2 expressive speech act which is not only a normal utterance but also an issue of great concern. Apologizing occurs in every culture to maintain good relations between interlocutors. When one apologizes, one may intend not merely to express regret but also to seek forgiveness. However, with different social level and ages, people use different ways of apologies. In Vietnamese daily life, in many situations Vietnamese people need to say “sorry” but as a habit they rarely do so. A great number of foreign visitors, therefore, complain that they are disappointed and angry when they do not receive any apologies from Vietnamese people when they have fault. Because of different culture, when communicating with English native speakers, Vietnamese people often make mistake and misunderstand. Apologizing is not an easy matter in Vietnamese language, and having to do it in a second or foreign language is even more complicated. The native speakers of English and Vietnamese share differences and similarities in terms of giving apologies in social interaction. Thus, mastering how to give apologies politely, effectively and appropriately not to misunderstand, shock and hurt is a need. For the above reasons, finding the similarities and differences in English and Vietnamese in apologies is a must. The finding hopefully helps Vietnamese teachers and learners keep the conversation with foreigners going on. To achieve it, the thesis is attempted to answer tree research questions: 1. How do the Vietnamese native speakers and the English native speakers say apologies? 2. What are the similarities and differences in making polite apologies between the Vietnamese native speakers and the English native speakers? 3. Do ages, social positions and relationships influence making polite apologies? 2. Aims of the study The aims of this study are to compare how similarly and differently the native speakers of English and Vietnamese use apologies in terms of cross-cultural features based on comparing the structures and strategies of apologies. The 3 apology strategies including getting attention, rejecting a request or invitation and admitting guilt with explanation will be investigated. 3. Research methods In the study, the methods used to collect relevant data are statistic, compare and contrast apologizing forms which are extracted from books, questionnaire and interview. First, data is mainly collected from English and Vietnamese books. They are then analyzed to find out the similarities and differences in making apologies in English and Vietnamese in terms of providing theoretical background for the process of comparative and contrastive analysis in the thesis. Next, questionnaire and interview are employed to investigate the reality of using apologies between the English native speakers and the native speakers of Vietnamese. They are delivered to 40 native speakers of Vietnamese and 40 English native speakers in Ho Chi Minh City. 4. Scope of the study The study is a comparative analysis on making polite apologies in English and Vietnamese in terms of cross-cultural perspective performed by the native speakers of English and Vietnamese. The thesis is limited to verbal aspects of making apologies based on eight forms and three strategies. The study also investigates the factors influence the way of making apology such as social level, age and relationship. 5. Significance of the study Finding out the similarities and differences in English and Vietnamese in polite apologies is expected to make a significant contribution to effective communication. As a matter of fact, Vietnamese people can be more confident when communicating or cooperating with the native speakers of English and use apologies exactly in specific situations. Hopefully, the study will help learners acquire how to remain relationships and keep conversations going on effectively with foreigners. 6. Previous study 4 Through the research process, two previous studies related to this thesis will be used to compare the findings. One study was carried out in spring 2009 by Huynh Cam Thao Trang. Her study focused on seven forms and three apology strategies in English and Vietnamese including getting attention, rejecting a request or invitation and admitting guilt with explanation. Her study, however, did not concentrate on comparing how similarly and differently native speakers of English and Vietnamese use polite apologies in terms of cross-cultural features. The other study is made by Mrs. Huynh Thi Nhi. The paper analyzed similarities and differences in English and Vietnamese in the light of utterances of apology. However, her study did not focus on three apology strategies as well as did not compare the degree of frequency in using apologies between Vietnamese native speakers and native speakers of English. This study will combine the results of the two studies above to develop the researcher‟s thesis. They are hopefully basic foundations this thesis. 7. Organization of the thesis This study is divided into three parts as follows: Chapter 1, introduction, presents an overview of the study in which the reason for the research, the aims, the research methods, the scope, the significance of the study, related previous study as well as the organization of the study. Chapter 2 reviews the theoretical background of the study including speech acts of apologies, politeness, and strategies of apologies. Chapter 3 discusses issues of methodology, research questions, research participants, research procedure, data collection, and method of analysis. Chapter 4 presents an overview of results and discusses the results of questionnaire and interview. Chapter 5, Conclusion, addresses the key issues in the study and summarizes some shortcomings revealed during the process of completing this thesis. 5 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW 1. Speech acts Speech act theory, developed by Searle (1979) following Austin‟s work (1975), is based on the idea that language is a form of behavior, and it is governed by rules (p. 22). Linguistic communication is seen as conventionalized, its minimal unit being the speech act, i.e. “an utterance that serves a function in communication” (University of Minnesota: Center for Advance Research on Language Acquisition‟s website). The idea that language is behavior is the key to understand how language functions in a social context. Trosborg (1987:147) notes “appropriate social behavior patterns, as they are perceived in Western societies, are built on the norms which constitute polite behavior”. It is well known that what is considered polite behavior varies among different sociocultural groups. Therefore, those norms which constitute polite behavior will be different in different societies. Speech acts can be defined as the basic unit of communication and they are part of linguistic competence. As Schmidt and Richards (1980) state speech acts are all the acts that speakers perform through speaking, and all the things that speakers do and the interpretation and negotiation of speech acts depend on discourse of context. Speech acts have also been classified as indirect and direct speech acts. According to Searle (1979), one speech act is brought about indirectly by performing another one in indirect speech acts and their interpretation changes according to the situation, the manner of speaking and to whom people speak. Fraser (1978) claims that indirect speech acts with illocutionary force are similar across languages but their distribution, function and frequency of occurrence may show differences. According to Blum-Kulka and Olshtain (1984), there are intercultural, cross-cultural and individual differences in using speech acts. Second language learners have been claimed to have disadvantages in using speech acts to communicate with native speakers of the target language because of the complexity of speech acts since they are conditioned by social, cultural, 6 situational and personal factors (Cohen and Olshtain, 1985). Second language learners generally try to apply the rules they use in their first language when they speak in the second language. Thus, the result is communication breakdown or communication conflict. In general, speech acts are acts of communication. Communication is to express a certain attitude, and the type of speech act being performed corresponds to the type of attitude expressed. For example, a statement expresses a belief, a request expresses a desire, and an apology expresses regret. As an act of communication, a speech act succeeds if the audience identifies, in accordance with the speaker's intention, and the attitude expressed. 2. Speech acts and Politeness Speech act theory is also closely related to the concept of politeness. The apology speech act is used commonly in daily conversations to show politeness. In any context, this speech act shows respect and identity as well as the culture of people who use a specific word choice. Early studies on politeness claims that this concept is universal (Brown & Levinson, 1987; Lakoff, 1973). According to Lakoff (1973), there are three main rules of politeness, namely “don‟t impose,” “give options,” and “make [the hearer] feel good – be friendly” (p. 298). Answering objections to the universality of politeness, Lakoff claims that his theory does not contradict the fact that different cultures have different customs. He believes that what creates differences in the interpretation of politeness across cultures is the order these rules take precedence one over the other. According to Brown and Levinson (1987), members of a society tend to keep a certain image of themselves which they call “face.” Brown and Levinson distinguish between two types of face, namely “negative face” and “positive face.” “Negative face” is defined as one‟s desire that nobody impede his or her actions, while “positive face” implies that people expect their needs to be desirable to others. For example, “Sorry, would it bother you terribly to close the door?” Addressing negative face supposes a power imbalance between the speaker and the hearer. The hearer assumes that he is negatively impacting the 7 speaker in some way, and tries to rectify this with an apology while if the speaker apologizes to the hearer, the speaker will be threatening his/her own positive face, in that the speaker is acknowledging having imposed on the hearer and asking for his/her acceptance of this (which the hearer may reject). Thus, those functions of language that are expressed with the help of speech acts are intended either to prevent a threat to the speaker‟s or hearer‟s face – by being polite when requesting something, for example – or to recover, or save face – in the case of apologies, for example (Staab, 1983). Apologies as a face-threatening act reflect how people generally behave as if their expectations concerning their public self-image, or their face wants, will be respected. For example, a close friend calls to reject an invitation to a birthday party for keeping the hearer‟s face-wants. “I‟m terribly sorry. I can‟t come to your birthday party next week. I have to go to Nha Trang on business.” As a result, an English saying goes “sorry is the hardest word”. This is not because it is hard to pronounce or spell, but because the speakers have to admit that they have done something wrong. Sometimes, apologies are also face saving because if accepted, the apology is supposed to alleviate the offense of the speaker. In the light of such findings, Nwoye (1992) believes that it is necessary to subclassify the concept of face into “individual face” and “group face.” Individual face refers to “the individual‟s desire to attend to his/her personal needs and to place his/her public-self-image above those of others” (p. 313), while group face refers to “the individual‟s desire to behave in conformity with culturally expected norms of behavior that are institutionalized and sanctioned by society” (p. 313). Nwoye also shows that in some cultures, in light of this reclassification of the notion of face, speech acts such as requests, offers, thanks, and criticisms are no longer face threatening acts. For example, in the culture of the Igbo, people follow a system where the sharing of goods and services is a norm. Thus, whereas in some civilizations a certain request may be imposing, in this particular culture it is not, since people are expected to share as a social norm. This idea of a “group face” was also put forward by Obeng (1999), who gives the 8 example of the Akan language, where acts are threatening the face not only of the speakers, but of the entire ethnic group. Another problem that speech acts raise in connection with politeness is the fact that some speech acts seem to be impolite by their nature, such as orders or commands, while others are polite by nature, such as offers or invitations (Leech, 1983). Thus, according to Leech, when people talk about speech acts, they must distinguish between positive politeness, which increases the politeness in the case of inherently polite speech acts, and negative politeness, which reduces the impoliteness of inherently impolite speech acts. He also argues that one has to pay attention to the relative of politeness, as this depends, as it is believed by authors of studies presented above, on the culture of the speakers. The desire to be polite also influences what kind of speech act one decides to use. Thus, one may choose an indirect speech act instead of a direct one in order to be more polite (Leech, 1983). Leech calls this the metalinguistic use of politeness in speech acts. The relationship between politeness and speech acts seems, therefore, very much similar to that between direct and indirect speech acts. It is very difficult to label a certain speech act as polite or impolite, and use these labels as rules. Whether the meaning a certain speech act conveys is polite or impolite is rather very much dependent on the contextual circumstances in which they are uttered. To sum up this section on speech acts, speech act theory is a widely disputed field and issues such as what speech acts are and how they are classified seem to be culture specific, and not as universal as some of the studies presented above have described. Evidence on speech act perception and realization from different cultures have demonstrated that more research needs to be done in order to provide a theory that has an integrated approach to speech acts. Thus, besides carefully defining the term used in the research and creating an appropriate taxonomy, social, cultural, and pragmatic influences on the meaning, perception, and production of speech acts need to be considered. 9 2.1. Politeness 2.1.1. Definition of politeness Politeness is such an interesting phenomenon that many linguistic experts have done research so far. The concept of politeness have expressed by many authors such as Yule (1996), Lakoff (1983), Leech (1983), Richard, J.C.et al (1990) and Brown and Levinson (1987). Yule (1996:60) states, “Politeness, in an interaction, can then be defined as the means employ to show awareness of another person‟s face.” Leech (1983:80) notes that politeness means to minimize the effect of impolite statement or expression (negative politeness) and maximize the effects of polite illocutions (positive politeness). According to Richard, J.C.et al.(1990), politeness is defined as “a) how languages express the social distance between speakers and their different role relationships, b) how face work, that is, the attempt to establish, maintain, and save face during conversations is carried out in a speech community.” Politeness, as shown in Coulmas (1981: 84, 235), is a dimension of linguistic choice and social behaviour, which includes such notions as courtesy, formality, rapport, deference, respect and distance. People monitor their speech by linguistic choices. Among the choices they make in conversation the politeness level of their utterances is one of the more conspicuous, and it is one where social constraints are most keenly felt. Lakoff (cited in Yule, 1996: 106) states that when one enters a conversationindeed, every kind discourse- one has some personal desideratum in mind: perhaps as obvious as a favour or as subtle as the desire to be likeable. For some of those needs, participants can accede to each other, and both gain their desires but with others, one must be lose, however minimally, for the others to win. One person must tell another something that the other does not want to hear; one person must refuse another‟s request, one person must end a conversation before the other is quite willing to go. In such cases, there is a danger of insult and consequently the breakdown of communication. 10 However, Lakoff (1983) also states that politeness is a tool to minimize conflict in discourse. Human communication serves to establish and maintain not only a comfortable relationship between people but also a social harmony. Therefore, in interpersonal communication, in terms of politeness, every participant considers social factors such as age, gender, power and distance among the interlocutors. Moreover, politeness may be described as a form of behaviour which is exercised in order to consolidate relationship between individuals or, at least, to keep it undamaged. 2.1.2. Politeness across cultures While it is certainly true that politeness does not reside within linguistic structures, every language has at its disposal a range of culture-specific routine formulae which carry “politeness default values” (Escandell-Vidal 1996: 643). The culture-specific meanings and politeness functions conventionally associated with certain expressions and grammatical constructions in a given language become apparent through comparison with other languages. At the same time, approaching politeness contrastively makes it necessary to establish categories which can be compared across groups. While post-modern theorists shift the focus towards the investigation of how people disagree on what constitutes politeness, cross-cultural research aims to establish how they agree on what is polite and how they do so differently in different cultures. Not only is the mutual knowledge necessary to infer an implicature (Grice, 1975) culture-specific but cultural values also determine whether it may be more appropriate to flout conversational maxims or to abide by the rules of the cooperative principle in a particular situation. There are different kinds of politeness across cultures as well, which ground in different views of what constitutes “polite social behavior” interaction. Lakoff (cited in Yule, 1996: 107) gives one example, for a white it was a bane to visiting Easterners, who was confounded by the Californian‟s appearance of good fellowship and deep caring, the immediate first naming, touching, looking deep into the eyes, and asking truly caring questions; “Are you really happy with your 11 life?” To the properly brought up Easterner, such behaviour was permissible only after years of earning it and my not then. Easterners fell into one of several schools of thought about the character of Californian: either that they had the simplicity children and should be patronized, or that they were rough frontier sorts, probably raised by wolves or that they were truly wonderful people who could get to know he/she as well after two seconds as would take most of them a life time. It is worth noting that within a culture, individual speakers may also vary somewhat in employing conversational devices to execute politeness strategies. For example “some people believe that interrupting relevant remarks shows interest in what the other person is talking about other people feel that it shows utter disregard for the interrupted speakers (Green, 1989: 146). 2.1.3. “Politeness- directness- indirectness” in apologizing Apologizing is one of the most sensitive arrears of daily communication in term politeness. It plays a crucial role in keeping people happy and friendship going. Although by apologizing, speakers recognize the fact that a violation of the social norm has been communicated and admits to the fact that he or she at least partially involve in its cause, apologizing most a social habit. Sometimes, the speakers mean it when they say it without thinking when they bump into someone by mistake. As a norm of politeness and a social habit, people would definitely get annoyed when apologizing is not given at the appropriate time, while in Brazil, neither the teacher nor students always arrive at the appointed hours. Arriving late may not be very important in Brazil, nor is staying late. In Brazil, a person who usually arrives late is probably more successful than a person who is always on time. In fact, Brazilians expect a person with status or prestige to arrive late. Politeness in apologizing is also associated with the notion of indirectness and directness. Directness and indirectness are basic forms of expression that are universal in all languages; however, they are different from culture to culture. 12 Direct, done via an explicit illocutionary force-indicating device (IFID), which selects a routines, formula expression of regret ( performative verb) such as: (be) sorry, apologize, regret, excuse (English); xin lỗi, tha thứ, lấy làm tiếc (Vietnamese). Indirect, people may obtain certain advantages and avoid negative consequences of face threatening acts by employing indirectness in their social interaction. “Indirectness is costly and risky” (Dascal-cited in Thomas, 1995:120). Indirect, performed by any utterance containing: An explanation or account of the course, which brought about the offence. Ex: The traffic was terrible. An expression of the speaker‟s responsibility for the offence. Ex: I’ve lost your book. An offer of repair. Ex: Can I replace it? A promise of forbearance: Ex: That’ll never happen again. 3. Speech acts of apology Apologies as an expressive speech act may be used before a real situation to show a feeling and lead to a good relationship between the speaker and the hearer. In all social groups, the act of apologizing is called for when social norms have been violated, whether the offence is real or potential (Olshtain & Cohen, 1983:20). When an action or utterance has resulted in the fact that one or more people perceive themselves as offended, the culpable person(s) needs to apologize. The act of apologizing requires an action or an utterance which is intended to “set things right” (Olshtain, 1983:235). Marquez-Reiter (2000: 44) states an apology is a “compensatory action for an offense committed by the speaker which has affected the hearer. According to Bataineh (2006:1903) apologies fall under expressive speech acts in which speakers attempt to indicate 13 their state or attitude. They add that in order for an apology to have an effect, it should reflect true feelings. One cannot effectively apologize to another and truly reach him/her unless one portrays honest feelings of sorrow and regret for whatever one has done” (Fahmi, R. & Fahmi, Rula, 2006: 1903). As Searle (1979) states a person who apologizes for doing A expresses regret at having done A, so the apology act can take place only if the speaker believes that some act A has been performed prior to the time of speaking and that this act A resulted in an infraction which affected another person who is now deserving an apology (Olshtain, ibid., 235). Apology speech acts have been investigated cross-culturally in order to find similarities and differences between the languages. In the present study, the focus of analysis is to find out the similarities and differences in Vietnamese and English in the way of native English and Vietnamese speakers using apologies. 3.1. Definitions of apologies An apology is a word or statement saying for something has been done wrong or that causes a problem. (Oxford Advanced Learner‟s Dictionary, 8th edition: 57). On the other hand, the definition of apologies has also been stated by many experts. According to Brown and Levinson, apologies are politeness strategies. An apology is a fundamental speech act which is a part of human communication occurs in every culture to maintain good relations between interlocutors. It can also be expression of contribution and remorse for something wrong. Brown and Levinson (1987) present the definition of apology as: "basically a speech act which is intended to provide support for the hearer who was actually or potentially malaffected by a violation X." They have continued, that in the decision to carry out the verbal apology, the speaker is willing humiliate himself or herself to some extent and to admit to fault and responsibility for X. Hence the act of apologizing is face-saving for the hearer and face-threatening for the speaker. This definition has described the apology process more individually (between the speaker and the hearer) which comes as support for the hearer who
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