LINGUIST List 14.3147

Mon Nov 17 2003

Diss: Applied Ling: Hatipoglu: 'CULTURE...'

Editor for this issue: Takako Matsui <>


  1. ciler2, Culture, Gender and Politeness

Message 1: Culture, Gender and Politeness

Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 12:09:08 -0500 (EST)
From: ciler2 <>
Subject: Culture, Gender and Politeness

Institution: University of the West of England
Program: Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Ciler Hatipoglu 

Dissertation Title: CULTURE, GENDER AND

Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics 

Subject Language: Turkish (code: TRK)

Dissertation Director 1: Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller
Dissertation Director 2: Prof. Sumru Ozsoy
Dissertation Director 3: Prof. Jenny Thomas

Dissertation Abstract:

This study examines the apology strategies used by males and females
in two different cultures, Turkish and British. The aim of the study
is to investigate how the gender of the interlocutor, his/her social
status and the type of offence affect the way males and females in
these two cultures apologise. Turkish and British cultures were
chosen as focal cultures for this project because they are defined by
scholars as cultures belonging to two different categories. According
to Brown and Levinson (1987) they are positive vs. negative politeness
cultures; while for Hofstede (1991) they are High Power Distance
Feminine Culture vs. Low Power Distance Masculine Culture

Although studies on speech acts have been accumulating in the last two
decades, the majority of these studies have been conducted with groups
of mixed nationalities studying English as a second or foreign
language, or with native speakers of English. Many researchers in the
area of pragmatics, however, were not happy with that exclusive focus
on English. They have pointed out that speech act studies should be
replicated within and across cultures and countries in order to
determine the generalizability and significance of the results and to
provide more insights for improved intercultural communication. More
empirical evidence about actual use of language in different cultures
is required in order to be able to avoid unwarranted generali sations
or stereotyping. This research is important because it examines the
use of apology strategies in Turkish, a language on which very few
applied linguistics studies have been published so far, and compares
and contrasts it with English. In particular in the area of apologies
little is known about the strategies used by Turkish speakers. This
study is also new in that a multiple-source approach to data
collection is used to investigate apology strategies. The data in the
study are collected from Turkish and British university students in
Istanbul and Bristol respectively, using DCTs and open role-plays. A
multiple-source approach to data collection (written vs. oral) was
utilised, following Labov (1972), Wolfson et al. (1989) and Sifiano
(1992), who assert that data coming from a variety of sources, when
accurately analysed and combined, can be used 'to converge on right
answers to hard questions' (Labov 1972:119). The collected material
is transcribed in CHAT format and the elicited apologies are
classified using Cohen and Olshtain's (1981) coding manual. The
analyses include a frequency count of apologies, mean length of turn
(MLT) comparison, and syntactic-semantic analyses. Later, statistical
analyses are conducted on the data situation by situation to determine
whether the social status and the gender of the interlocutor had an
impact on the apology strategies performed by each gender group.

Results of the study reveal that context external as well as context
internal features influence the choice of apology strategy. Stated
differently, the social status and the gender of the interlocutor do
affect the way males and females apologise in Turkish and British
English, however, context in ternal factors such as the degree of
imposition or reason for apologising also modify the choice of
strategy realisation. It is believed that the current study will
contribute to enhancing knowledge in this field, raising awareness
about cultural differences and providing valuable insights into
intercultural and inter-gender communication rules; knowledge that
might prevent possible 'pragmatic failure' (Thomas 1983).
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