Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Charkova, Krassimira


This study compares the speech acts of apology of Saudi learners of English with those of American English native speakers to investigate the intercultural communication competence of second language learners. The investigation is based on 120 apology responses from Saudi learners of English and native speakers of American English. The responses were collected through a discourse completion task. The participants from both groups utilized the same five strategies mentioned by Cohen and Olshtain (1981): apology expressions, explanations, promises of forbearance, acknowledgments of responsibility, and offers of repair. Results showed no difference in the types of apology strategies adopted, but the frequency of using these strategies varied. The frequency of use of the strategies significantly varied only for the offers of repair and promises of forbearance. The results also indicated that the two most universal strategies used were apology expressions and explanations. Furthermore, the most common strategies that were often combined together were expressions and explanations. This study supports Taguchi's (2011) statement on the possible effect of learners' English proficiency on their speech act productions. Moreover, social power has a noticeable impact on students' production of the five apology strategies. Results indicated that the higher the social power of the offended, the more apology strategies he/she seemed to have received. Results from the current study and studies like this are informative to not only the speech act literature but also the study of intercultural communication, the globalization of American universities, and the development of Saudi cultural missions.




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