Level of imposition and explicit electronic apologies

In the last few decades the number of the world’s population online has increased rapidly and now it is more than one billion (Internet World Stats 2007). The meaning of this development is that every day more and more people start to use the so called internet/electronic language both for business and personal interactions. This rapid progress brings, however, a number of problems for linguists as well as the general public since with the introduction of the new medium, new rules of interaction that are different from the ones followed in the spoken and written modalities have started to emerge (Hatipoğlu 2004, 2006; St. Amant, 2002). Therefore, there is an urgent need for thorough examination of the rules that govern computer-mediated communication (CMC). If the appropriate strategies are not identified and the interlocutors follow different rules of interaction, CMC can turn into a series of misunderstandings finally leading to communication breakdowns. The need for examination becomes even more urgent when apologising is concerned since research shows that it is more sensitive to contextual variables than other speech acts (e.g., requests and complaints, Johnston et al. 1998). However, as far as the author is aware, to date there is not a study examining the rules of apologising in CMC in Turkish. Therefore, this study aims to serve as one of the first steps to filling in this niche by examining whether or not the variable “absolute ranking of imposition” affects the quality of the explicit electronic apologies (i.e., IFIDs=Illocutionary Force Indicting Devices). The current study concentrates only on IFIDs due to three reasons: first, they are the core apologetic behaviour, the major apology strategies in any language (Olshtain & Cohen, 1983), second, differently from the other remedial classes (e.g., offer of repair, promise of forbearance) they are not situation- specific (i.e., they can be utilised in any context, Olshtain & Cohen, 1991). Finally, because the informants in the study are university students with age range 17-24 and research on apologies shows that the members of this age group use IFIDs statistically significantly more often than any other age group (Deutschmann, 2006). It is hoped that by examining this single category of apologies in detail, the study will be able to uncover the various nuances of meaning carried by these “units and to yield interesting cultural information of considerable value for cross cultural comparison” (Hymes, 1972).


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Citation Formats
Ç. Hatipoğlu, “Level of imposition and explicit electronic apologies,” 2009, p. 277, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: https://hdl.handle.net/11511/83194.