Arab World English Journal – (August 2013)                                                   Theses / Dissertation

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Name of researcher: Shatha Ahmed S Al Ali

Title of the thesis/dissertation:  A Cross-cultural Study of the Speech Act of Apology by Saudi and Australian Females

Subject/major: Applied Linguistics

University name, department name: The University of Melbourne, Faculty of Arts, Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics

Degree: M.A

Year of award: 2012


The current study investigates the speech act of apology made by female Saudi native Arabic speakers and female Australian native English speakers. The study recruited 40 participants of university students and a few staff members. All 40 participants were asked to complete eight different Discourse Completion Test (DCT) situations, which varied in terms of power between the interlocutors and level of imposition. The aim of my research was to investigate whether Saudi native Arabic speakers and Australian native English speakers differed from each other in terms of apology strategies. In addition, I investigated the role of culture in influencing the ways in which each group realized their apologies. This study has shown that there were some similarities as well as significant differences between the Saudi (SA) and Australian (AU) females in terms of their use of apology strategies. Also, this study has shown that a number of features were utilized by the SA and AU groups in their use of apology strategies. The SA use of these features reflected some aspects of their religion and cultural traditions and provided valuable insights into the Saudi daily practice of apology. Moreover, this study has found that the SA and AU groups realized apology strategies sometimes similarly and other times differently. Overall, culture played a major role in influencing the two groups’ behavior in the act of apology.

Key words: Pragmatics, cross-cultural pragmatics, speech act of apology, Saudi Arabic females , Australian English females.