n Journal for Language Teaching = Ijenali Yekufundzisa Lulwimi = Tydskrif vir Taalonderrig - A cross-cultural investigation of apology realisation patterns in Luganda and English

Volume 39, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0259-9570



One of the main challenges facing speech act research is the strong need to widen the scope of languages studied on the cross-cultural level, so as to make valid and universal claims of the politeness theory. This article reports on an investigation into speakers' realisation, in Luganda, Luganda English, and English first language, of apologies as a basic act of politeness. The investigation sought a) to verify the working assumption that the languages involved reflect different cultural politeness patterns in apology realisation and intensification; and b) if so, to determine to what extent these differences reflect cultural norms. Use was made of Luganda and English discourse completion task (DCT) questionnaires administered to 200 university students. The results show differences in the selection, intensification, and norms of politeness in the realisation of apologies. Apology may be a universal speech act, but its realisation and intensification vary according to conflicting cultural norms. Theoretical and pedagogical implications regarding politeness theory are drawn.

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