Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Vol 36, No 1 (2013)

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INVESTIGATING APOLOGY RESPONSE STRATEGIES IN AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH AND BAHASA INDONESIA: GENDER AND CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES

Dr Adrefiza, Jeremy F. Jones

Abstract


Studies on apologies have proliferated in pragmatics research, but little research has been conducted on apology responses (ARs). The present inquiry contributes to filling the gap in the literature, and it does so by examining such responses in two languages, Australian English (AE) and Bahasa Indonesia(BI). The study ultimately focuses on two variables, gender and culture. It probes behavioural differences in the genders in and between the two societies, and considers cultural differences in the expression of ARs. Using oral discourse completion tasks (DCTs), the researchers recorded andanalyzed a total of 360 responses to three apology situations. The findings reveal that ARs in both languages were complex and elaborate, embodying various subsidiary speech acts and expressions. The ARs generally showed indirectness and mitigated face threats towards interlocutors. However,one striking result is that there was no marked gender difference in AR strategy either within or between languages, thus challenging a stereotype that females are more accepting and ‘polite’ than males (Brown, 1980; Holmes, 1995, 2008). Another surprising result was that, in a significant minority of cases, Indonesians were revealed to be more direct and face-threatening than their Australian counterparts, again confronting a stereotype of speech behaviour, in this case that Asians are more indirect and ambiguous than native English-speakers in Western cultures.

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