Apology strategies in English and Vietnamese

  • Thu Lau
Keywords: Apology strategies, speech acts, politeness, native speakers, ESL learners


The paper examined the differences in apology strategies between native speakers of English and advanced Vietnamese ESL learners as well as the factors that might result in those differences through discourse completion tests (DCTs). The data were coded in terms of five apology strategies, and were analyzed according to four situational categories in relation to age, dominance, social distance, and weight of offence. The result indicated that the apologies of the Vietnamese ESL learners showed more politeness and respect for people from higher status, closeness to a friend, less courtesy to an equal and less respect (but greater intimacy) for their kid, a family member. By contrast, the degree of politeness, sincerity and respect of the apologies of the native speakers depended heavily on the weight of offence and the situation itself. The acts of apologizing of the Vietnamese group were significantly influenced by the hierarchical culture of Vietnam, and their restricted linguistic competence as well.  

Author Biography

Thu Lau

Oklahoma State University

Oklahoma, United States

How to Cite
Lau, T. (2017). Apology strategies in English and Vietnamese. IJOHMN (International Journal Online of Humanities), 3(6), 33. https://doi.org/10.24113/ijohmn.v3i6.43