A Cross-Cultural Approach to Speech-Act-Sets: The Case of Apologies

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to contribute to the validity of recent research into speech act theory by advocating the idea that with some of the traditional speech acts, their overt language manifestations that emerge from corpus data remind us of ritualised scenarios of speech-act-sets rather than single acts, with configurations of core and peripheral units reflecting the socio-cultural norms of the expectations and culture-bound values of a given language community. One of the prototypical manifestations of speech-act-sets, apologies, will be discussed to demonstrate a procedure which can be used to identify, analyse, describe and cross-culturally compare the validity of speech-act-set theory and provide evidence of its relevance for studying the English-Czech interface in this particular domain of human interaction.

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