An investigation of apology strategies employed by Iranian EFL learners

2017 IJRSE – Volume 6 Issue 3


Elham, Abedi*
English Department, Faculty of Humanities, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Najafabad, Isfahan, Iran (


A number of studies on apology strategies have investigated apologies cross-culturally. Rarely have apology strategies been scrutinized in Iranian context of EFL learning; nor have the respondents’ gender that trigger such apologies been taken into account. This study was aimed to compare Iranian male and female EFL learners in terms of apology strategies. The participants were 50 Iranian EFL learners: (25 male, 25 female) both graduate and undergraduate students studying at Islamic Azad University, Najafabad branch. Discourse completion tests (DCT) were used in this study. In addition, Cohen and Olshtain’s (1981) model was used for the classification of the different types of apology strategies used by EFL learners. It was found that the apology strategies of the first class, namely illocutionary force indicating devices (IFIDs), were the most commonly used strategies by Iranian EFL learners. Indeed, 67.48% of the entire number of the strategies used by EFL learners belonged to this category. Around 15.14% of the strategies are offer for repair by Iranian EFL learners, while the remaining strategies were scarcely used by Iranian EFL learners. In terms of gender, the results of a chi-square test showed that there was no statistically significant difference between male and female EFL learners with regard to their use of apology strategies: χ (10) = 2.69, p = .98.

Keywords: speech act theory; speech act of apology; apology strategies; Iranian EFL learners; gender



*Corresponding Author