A Comparative Study of Apology Strategy Use by Iranian and German EFL Learners: Gender Differences in Focus

Kourosh Keshani, Mohammad Ali Heidari-Shahreza


The present research intended to compare and contrast the use of apology strategies by Iranian and German EFL learners. To this end, through Oxford Quick Placement Test (OQPT) and a sociolinguistic background survey, 32 intermediate adult EFL learners, 16 Iranians and 16 Germans, were selected as the final participants. They were, then, divided into four equal groups of male and female speakers to examine possible gender differences in the use of apology strategies. Afterwards, all the participants took part in a Discourse Completion Test (DCT) with five situations. In the DCT scenarios, the participants were supposed to apologize in interaction with individuals in a higher or equal status. Follow-up interviews with the learners and video-recorded role plays were also employed to safeguard the DCT findings. The descriptive and inferential analysis of the participants' responses revealed that 'apology expression' (IFIDs), 'responsibility statements', 'promise of forbearance', 'offer of repair' and 'concern for the hearer' were most frequently used by both Iranian and German learners. Moreover, no significant difference in the frequency of apology strategy use between Iranian and German EFL learners was discerned. Likewise, the observed gender-based discrepancies between male and female learners in employing apology strategies did not reach statistical significance. In this paper, the findings are briefly discussed in light of EFL learners' communicative prerequisites and pedagogical implications are highlighted.


Apology strategies, Gender differences, Iranian EFL learners, German EFL learners, Communicative competence

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