|Title:||Culture, Gender and Politeness: Apologies in Turkish and British English||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Çiler Hatipoğlu||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of the West of England, Linguistics Department|
|Linguistic Subfield(s):||Applied Linguistics;|
|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 respectively.
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 generalisations 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 internal 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).