LINGUIST List 15.2938
Sun Oct 17 2004
Sum: Summary: Re: Linguist 15.2366, Hungarian Apologies
Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <foxlinguistlist.org>
Summary: Re: Linguist 15.2366, Hungarian Apologies
Message 1: Summary: Re: Linguist 15.2366, Hungarian Apologies
From: Fay Wouk <f.woukauckland.ac.nz>
Subject: Summary: Re: Linguist 15.2366, Hungarian Apologies
A few weeks ago I posted a query (Linguist 15.2366) about apologizing in
Hungarian. The query was:
I have a question for native speakers of Hungarian, about the speech act of
apologizing. Most studies recognize three apology types, expressions of
regret, offers of apology and requests for forgiveness. Suszczynska (1999 -
Journal of Pragmatics 31 p. 1053-1065) suggests a fourth, forstalling anger.
I'd like to know a bit more about this.
If someone were to offend you by for example
a. saying something at a meeting that you interpret as a personal insult
b. forgetting an important meeting with you
c. running into your car and denting the door slightly
d. bumping into you in a department store
(situations taken from Cohen & Olshtain 1981)
and they said 'Please don't be angry' would you feel that they had
apologized to you?
If not, what more would they have to say in order for you to feel that you
had been apologized to?
I received replies from Hungarians Anna Fenyvesi, Katalin Balogne Berces,
Kornel Bangha, Tamas Biro, Szilvia Papp, and Katalin Mady, and all of whom
agreed that forstalling anger was an appropriate and common strategy in
apologizing, particularly for minor offences, although not all of them
thought it would be appropriate for more serious ones, such as damaging
someone's car. Most importanly, when ever an additional expression was
suggested, it was not another apology type, but rather a completely different
strategy, such as an explanation or offer of repair.
Additionally, Kim Schulte pointed out that the same strategy is also used
in Roumanian, and Michael Johnstone, who had spent a year in Hungary, noted
that the expression was used similarly to British English excuse me, before
making requests, especially to strangers.
I am very grateful to everyone who responded to my query.
Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics
Subject Language(s): Hungarian Language Code: HNG
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