How do Alexandrians and Najdis Apologize? A Variational Pragmatic Study of Arabic

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speech act, apology, Arabic, variational pragmatics, culture


There is a paucity of variational pragmatic research that compares the realization of the speech act of apology across dialects of one and the same language. The current study aimed at comparing the realization of the speech act of apology between two Arabic dialects, namely Alexandrian Arabic in Egypt and Najdi Arabic in Saudi Arabia. Data were collected from 120 participants using role-play. The participants were undergraduate students, equally divided into males and females. Half the participants were Najdis, while the other half were Alexandrians. The apology strategies were coded using Olshtain and Cohen’s (1983) model. Additionally, initiators and internal/external modifications were analyzed. The results showed that the two groups of participants adopted a similar apology behavior, a finding which was explained in terms of the unifying influence of religion. The results also showed a strong influence for social dominance on the participants’ apology behavior. This influence was larger than the moderate influence for social distance and the limited influence for gender. Based on the findings, we recommend conducting further variational pragmatic research on the Arabic language.


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Author Biographies

Dina Abdel Salam El-Dakhs, Prince Sultan University

Dina Abdel Salam El-Dakhs is the Chair of the Linguistics and Translation Department and the Director of the Applied Linguistics Research Lab at Prince Sultan University. She has extensive experience in teaching in and coordinating TESOL and Applied Linguistics programs. Her research interests are Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Psycholinguistics and Second Language Learning and Teaching. She has several publications in flagship journals.

Mervat M. Ahmed

Mervat M. Ahmed is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics & Vice-Dean for Training and Community Service at the College of Language & Communication (CLC) at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport. Her research interests are pragmatics, discourse analysis and stylistics. 

Jawaher Nasser AlHaqbani

Jawaher Nasser AlHaqbani is a research assistant at the Applied Linguistics Research Lab, College of Humanities and Sciences, Prince Sultan University. She has teaching experience in English language courses and coordination experience in academic accreditation. She is also a SAQF reviewer. She has several papers published in well-known journals. Her research interests are MALL, Pragmatics, Language Teaching and Learning and Discourse Analysis.

Afrah Alenezi

Afrah Alenezi is a research assistant at the Applied Linguistics Research Lab, College of Humanities and Sciences, Prince Sultan University. She completed her Master's degree in the field of Translation from Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in 2022. She has experience in teaching English language courses and translation experience with different academic institutes including King Saud University and Majmaah University. Her research interests include media translation, culture and translation, as well as technological areas of translation.


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How to Cite

Salam El-Dakhs, D. A. ., Ahmed, M. M. ., AlHaqbani, J. N. ., & Alenezi, A. . (2023). How do Alexandrians and Najdis Apologize? A Variational Pragmatic Study of Arabic. Journal of Ethnic and Cultural Studies, 10(5), 147–171.
Received 2023-06-17
Accepted 2023-08-24
Published 2023-12-19