|dc.description.abstract||Apology is a critical speech act in everyday language. It has attracted many researchers from different perspectives, apology realisations patterns, apologies in different cultures, apology competence among second language learners, politeness orientations towards negative or positive politeness (Brown & Levinson, 1987), among others. Apology might place some psychological difficulties not just on its performer, but also on its receiver (Lakoff, 2001). In the literature, many studies have investigated the strategies adopted by the speaker, but comparatively little attention has been paid to how these strategies are received by the hearer - that is, how effective they are.
Apology can be performed by using some apology strategies, e.g., an illocutionary force indicating device (IFID) e.g., I am sorry, an expression of responsibility, an offer of repair, or a promise of forbearance (Olshtain & Cohen, 1983; Blum-Kulka & Olshtain, 1984). Thus, given that several apology studies (e.g., Holmes, 1990; Hussein & Hammouri, 1998; Alhojailan, 2019; Alasqah, 2021) have documented that their participants prefer to apologise by using a combination of apology strategies, the thesis aims to explore the relationship between combining the IFID (e.g., I am sorry) with one of Olshtain and Cohen’s (1983) and Blum-Kulka and Olshtain’s (1984) apology strategies and the hearer’s perception of the apology. An explanatory mixed methods sequential design was used to collect data from native speakers of Saudi Arabic given that Saudi Arabic is widely spoken, and highly relevant for cross-cultural communication and yet is understudied, and hence was used as data for the current study.
I hypothesised in this thesis that an offer of repair, a promise of forbearance, and an acknowledgement of responsibility can function as upgrading devices when combined with an IFID. It was also hypothesised that an explanation when combined with an IFID can function as downgrading device. 99 native speakers of Saudi Arabic participants were recruited, to complete an online rating scale survey based on Latin-square design, examining participants’ acceptance of certain apology combinations based on 12 hypothetical scenarios. Qualitative questions that emerged from the quantitative study were explored using three focus group discussions. Qualitative data were analysed based on Braun and Clarke’s (2006) thematic analysis framework. Analysis of the quantitative results showed that combining an IFID with either an offer or repair or an acknowledgement of responsibility increased its acceptability; however, the results of combining an IFID with a promise of forbearance or an explanation were more equivocal.
The qualitative study suggested that whether or not these combinations were effective depended on the nature of the offence (in the case of the promise of forbearance) and whether internal or external factors were invoked (in the case of the explanation).
The qualitative findings additionally show that there are two more factors that play a role in motivating the hearer’s perception of an apology; the interpersonal relationship between the interlocutors and the act that is being apologised for. I discuss these results in the context of a model of apology combination in which the speaker's aim is to design a strategy that satisfies the hearer's social, psychological and emotional needs. Therefore, when a combination fails to achieve its goal (of being accepted), the failure in one way or another might be attributed to the inappropriateness of the apology based on these needs. This tendency would clearly refute the view that the addition of apology strategies will automatically make an apology more likely to be accepted.||en