Apology Speech Acts Performed By Speakers In The Cairene Society From Three Socioeconomic Classes

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Wesam Khairy Morsi


This research paper explores apology speech acts realized by Cairene speakers of Egyptian colloquial Arabic. Sample of population includes Cairenes from different social classes in an attempt to reach clear conclusions about the commonly used types by speakers in the Cairene society. Participants are 88 from the upper working class (UWC), middle class (MMC) and upper middle class (UMC). The social class index is estimated according to level of education, occupation and place of residence (Haeri, 1999; Labov, 2006; Methias & Morsi, 2020). Data was collected from 11 Discourse completion tasks (DCTs) adopted from [1], following [2]. The following apology strategies were used to code the participants’ responses in the DCTs: Illocutionary Force Indicating Device (IFID), IFID with intensifications (so or very), giving explanation, taking on responsibility or self-casting, offer of repair, promise of forbearance, concern for the hearer, gratitude, humor, blaming victim, showing lack of intent to do harm, offending the victim and avoiding the victim or the subject [3]. The SPSS program was used for calculating the frequency and the percentage of apology strategies used by the sample of participants. Kruskal Wallis test showed that Cairene speakers performed IFIDs or IFIDs and giving explanations were the most commonly used speech acts followed by offer of repair, taking on responsibility. In more severe offenses, members of UMC would use concern of the hearer and gratitude more than MMC and UWC while UWC preferred avoidance of victim or subject when the addressee was of higher status or when their interlocutors were of equal status. There are some similarities between these findings and others found in the Arab, eastern and western nations which support the universality of the most commonly used apology strategies used by speakers all over the world in spite of differences in expressions or apology strategies’ combinations that are culture specific. Further research of apology speech acts across diverse sectors of social groups is recommended to generalize the findings to the Cairene Society.

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