Motivated by the Speech Act theory, gender-specific use of language, and cross-cultural communication, this study intended to address quantitatively how cultural differences and gender patterns affect the way Persian and English native-speaking spouses apologize and utilize apology strategies in their conversational routines. To triangulate data, both a questionnaire (Chopman, 2012) and a focus-group semi-structured open-ended interview were used to collect data on sixty participants’ linguistic behavior and their apology exchange. The Chi-square results for inter-cultural/gender comparisons indicated a higher rate of apologies among the English spouses and a variety in the rate and kind of apology strategies use. However, intra-cultural ones demonstrated twice more apology use by Persian females than males and no significant difference between the English spouses. The findings may have great appeal for both EFL learners and teachers to attend more to the nature of the apology speech act and its exchange among various groups and in different cultures and provide Persian EFL learners with information that may help them improve their pragmatic competence in English. The study also contributes to the pragmatics teaching curriculum and EFL research.
Keywords: apology speech act, apology strategies, cross-cultural communication, gender, Persian and English native-speaking spouses
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