Interpersonal apology strategies and response to apology in Saudi Arabia

Alasqah, N., 2021. Interpersonal apology strategies and response to apology in Saudi Arabia. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This research is aimed at investigating the apology strategies and responses to apology employed by Saudis in speech acts. In investigating the apology strategies and response to apology, the study also explores the different factors that could affect the choice of these strategies such as age, gender, social power and social distance.

A mixed-methods approach is adopted, grounded in speech act theory and using a discourse completion task (DCT) and semi-structured interviews. Focus groups are used for piloting purposes. There were 89 participants involved in the focus groups, which contributed to the development of the DCT situations and identification of apology and response strategies. A total of 276 participants were included to answer 15 DCT situations. An additional 10 participants were interviewed in order to gain understanding of the factors affecting the realization of the speech acts.

The study found that the most used apology strategies were offer of apology, expression of regret and explanation of account. These apology strategies were often used in combination with other apology strategies. A statistical significance difference in utilisation of apology strategies was observed between males and females; for instance, females expressing more concern for the hearer, while males more inclined to express embarrassment and offer repair than females. However, differences in apology strategy utilisation based on age group, social distance and social power were not found to be statistically significant. The nature of the offence, position of the offended, words employed, and cultural upbringing were key factors considered when apologising. Further, the use of intensifiers and religious terms helped show sincerity in apologising and often followed an offer of repair.

In terms of apology responses, the most frequently used strategies were deflecting and acceptance, which were often used together. The explaining response strategy was often used with returning, thanking and religious amplifiers. The study also suggested that males employed more returning, explaining and religious amplifiers strategies than females, and that relatively more females than males were willing to accept an apology and actually thank the apologiser. However, gender differences in the use of response strategies were not found to reach statistically significance. Similarly, differences according to age group, social power and social distance were not statistically significant. The most commonly used response phrase was 'no problem', with religious amplifiers such as 'inshallah', 'alhamdallah' often used with other response strategies (returning, explaining, thanking and disagreeing).

The study contributes in showing that apology and response speech acts are context specific. The contextual factor of gender has more significant than age, social power or social distance in the context of Saudi Arabia.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Alasqah, N.
Date: August 2021
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the owner of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 08 Sep 2021 12:12
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2021 12:12

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