A Relevance-Theoretic Approach to Apology in Filipino and English


Olive Gim, Sangcheol Lee

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The present study aims to prove that there are apology strategies in certain languages that cannot be found in other languages like in the case of Filipino and English. Some apology strategies in English may not be suitable to use in certain contexts or situations and neither do they share the same functions to the strategies in Filipino. Expressions like “Sorry na” in Filipino and “I’m sorry” in English do not share completely the same functions since the former is commonly used as a casual apology with near zero sincerity compared to the latter. Although they are used similarly, their communicative intention varies. “Pasensiya na” on the other hand, is used to show sincerity and ingenuity than that of “Sorry na.” Hence, this study aims to explore the pragmatic interpretation of Filipino and English apology strategies and emphasize their cultural implications in different contextual situations. Moreover, it aims to find similarities in the usage and function of each strategy, and to analyze the speech act of apology based on the principle of Relevance theory. Relevance Theory may shed some light to understanding the usage and function of these culture-bound apology strategies.


1. Introduction
2. Apology Strategy Types in English
3. Apologies in Filipino
4. Apologies in Cross-cultural Communication
5. Relevance-based Approach to Speech Act of Apology
6. Conclusion


  • Olive Gim Chungnam National University/Ph.D. Student
  • Sangcheol Lee Chungnam National University/Professor


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