Apologies strategies used among American and Arabic speakers.
Apologies are generally explained as ways to remove misunderstanding and show respect between speakers in order to avoid embarrassing situations, or make reparations in daily communication. However, scholars have found that “apology” is defined differently dependent upon the cultures of the speaker and hearer. Finnegan (2012) and Holmes (1990) believe that apologies function as meaningful social acts that not only repair relationships, but also effectively convey feelings. On the other hand, Olshtain (2000) believed an apology is basically voluntary humiliation of the speaking individual, and Goffman (1967) said apologizing causes an individual to disassociate the self, literally splitting the consciousness in two between the guilty part and the part which wishes to make the apology. Moreover, Olshtain & Cohen (2000) and Nureddeen (2008) agreed that apologies function as reestablishments of already existing and harmonious relationships. Likewise, Bergman & Kasper (1993) and Reiter (2000) all indicated apologies are compensatory actions to make up for an offense from the speaker, to the hearer.
With these definitions in hand, it could be said safely that apology plays an essential role in everyday communication between speakers. It is the way the speakers justify or defend themselves from wrongdoing; however, the apology as a rhetorical strategy can vary according to the language and culture of the speaker and hearer.
Numerous studies on apology strategies conducted cross-cultural comparisons between the native speakers and non-native speakers of English. Basically, most of the studies focused on the use of the illocutionary force indicating device (henceforth IFID), in conjunction with an intensifier; an expression of responsibility, explanation, and/or repair; minimization of the severity of the offense or the speaker's role in the offense; the praise of forbearance; and then compared the uses of these apology strategies between the interlocutors (Jebahi, 2011; Bataineh & Bataineh, 2006; Blum-Kulka et al. 1989). Olshtain & Cohen (2000) also demonstrated an additional two strategies, and classified them into two categories: a denial of the need to apologize, and a denial of responsibility. Detemr (2000) further added another strategy: postponing the apology. Owen, (1983) thought of an apology as a remedial move, therefore he offered three explicit types of apology: utterances that consist of the word “apologize” or its variations; utterances that carry the word “sorry”; and utterances that start with “I am afraid” followed by the sentence.
Scholars concentrate on different cultures because each culture's strategy of apologizing, and language being used, is different. Also, many researchers conducted research on apology strategies in different languages, taking many variables into account such as: politeness strategies used, how cultural values...