Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0817-9514
  • E-ISSN: 2542-5102
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Several studies across languages (Cohen and Olshtain, 1981; Olshtain, 1983; Trosborg, 1987; Holmes, 1989) investigated the different social and contextual factors that influence native speakers to select one or a group of “semantic formula(s)” (Fraser, 1981) in the act of apologizing. Nevertheless the literature is still in its infancy (Fraser, 1981 and Holmes, 1989) in respect to the gender differences between speaker (apologizer) and hearer (recipient), and in the comparison between Spanish and English. This paper aims to investigate the strategies and the semantic formulas that Chilean Spanish and Australian English native speakers use in the act of apologizing. A role play eliciting an apology was carried out in the participants’ mother tongue. Twenty two Chileans (twelve females and ten males) who had lived for not more than three years in Australia and twenty Australians (ten males and ten females) who, like the Chileans, varied in age from 17 to 30 were the informants in this study.

Results show that Chilean and Australian cultural values were reflected in the act of apologizing. Chileans in comparison to Australians make less use of the apology strategy “explicit expression of apology”. Nevertheless they appear to give more explanations than Australians in the act of apologizing. Differences were also found in both languages in the use of “speaker and hearer oriented apologies” and in the use of some strategies and intensifiers, in which the addressee’s gender played an important role in both languages.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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