Speakers Of Malaysian English And Jordanian Arabic English Language Essay

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This study attempts to investigate the strategies used by the speakers of Malaysian English and Jordanian Arabic undergraduate students when trying to apologize to the offended. In other words, this is a comparative study which tries to find out the similarities and differences between the Malaysian and Jordanian apologize. Gender of the interlocutors in apologies will be also taken into account to discover any potential differences, which might be attributed to the gender.

Like other speech acts, apologizing strategies have drawn the attention of many investigators, especially those interested in studying second language teaching and learning. Goffman (1971) consider apologies as remedial interchanges used to restore social harmony after transgressing by the wrongdoer (cf. Ogiermann, 2009:47). Al-Abdi (1981:4-5) also defines apology as the utterances and deeds a person tries to offer to lift punishment or blame due him for a malicious deed he has committed.

An apology so is called for when social norms have been violated, whether the offence is real or perceived (Olshtain-Cohen 1983:20. Qf. Trosborg, 1994 ). Olshtain as well (1989: 156-7) defines an apology as "a speech »¿act which is intended to provide support for the hearer who »¿was actually or potentially malaffected by a violation''. Holmes (1995: 155) further defines apology as "a polite speech act used to restore social relations following an offense"

Margaret Lee Runbeck once said '' Apology is a lovely perfume' it can transform the clumsiest moment into a gracious gift''. This is in line with Lynn Johnston who stated the following byword '' An apology is the superglue of life.  It can repair just about anything''. These are some of adages that reveal the effectiveness of using apology. Unfortunately, the concepts of apology and forgiveness being abused and degraded to the point that these life-changing gestures are at danger of becoming collide. And our current disability to apologies has extended into an epidemic affecting our intimate relationships, our schools, our families, our children, our business relationships,, and even our cultures (Engel 2001).

Drawing on Engel's work '' The power of apology'' argues that there is an significant nexus between our inability to accept responsibility for our actions, our tendency to blame others , our High divorce rate, and the fact that our children no longer respect themselves or others. All these problems reflect our rejection to accept responsibility for our actions that may harm others.

An apology, therefore, is a forceful tool of propitiation and restoring trust. People who have been hurt or degraded often hope for an apology. They may hope that an apology from wrongdoer will restore dignity, trust, and a sense of justice. It is important to realize that a sincere apology can mend a relationship and restore social harmony (Wagner, 2003).

Undoubtedly, the fact that apologies have the impact to restore good feelings and trusting relationships is obviously a reason for appreciating the practice of apology. A thoughtful apology can have all sorts of good effects. In conformity with Tavuchis that apology has the talismanic power to rehabilitate the individual and restore social harmony; it upgrades reconciliation and can prevent trespasses from becoming hindrances to social unison. (cf. Thompson, 2005).

Certainly and as said before that apologies have great impact on peoples' life. Apology also has crucial influence on politics since there is a conventional fact that politicians never apologize. Tiedens (2001) experimentally points out that even though politicians gain approval and liking by apologizing, a apology causes the politician to lose status as measured by respect or willingness to re-elect. Consider, Bush on Iraq, Clinton on Lewinsky and Berlusconi on Germany (cf. Benjamin Ho, 2005).

Apology, likewise, has decisive effectiveness on international relations since the different cultural norms regarding apologies can seriously affect intercultural communication. Consider how differing cultural norms and values surrounding apologies in America and Japan caused serious intercultural communication problems because of Ehime Maru incident in 2001 (cf. Lingle, 2006). In the same boat on April 1, 2001 a United States Navy spy plane was eavesdropping on China and the results were disastrous when Chinese pilot crashed into the ocean and died. This accident became an international incident with much of the escalation centering on the different cultural norms related to apologies (cf, Neckers, 2002).

Similarly, apologies ways are varied across-cultures for example, as a way to repair and apologize for what happened in china during Japan invasion, Japanese AV star with a doctorate, Anri Suzuki, 24, is having sex with Chinese students free in Japan to apologize for her country's invasion of China. She said, ''I want to cure the wounds of Chinese with my body, and I am practicing this by having sex with Chinese students in Japan. I think it is psychological compensation to them.'' (Koreatimes, 06-08-2010 ).

According to Wheeler (2009) that the thoughtful and effective apology should include the following sixth components (sixth R):

Firstly, recognition, and this includes:

a description of the wrong;

a recognition of the wrong; and

an acknowledgement of the harm;

Secondly responsibility: acknowledgement of responsibility for the offense and harm caused.

Thirdly reasons - an explanation of the reasons for the problem, or a promise to

investigate the cause.

Fourthly regret. The essential element of the apology is a statement expressing sincere sympathy, sorrow, remorse and/or contrition.

Fifthly, responsiveness and redress, which would include:

A statement of the action taken or proposed to put things right;

A promise not to repeat the offensive action; and

Timeliness: making the amends immediately.

Finally release a request for forgiveness.

(1.1) Statement of problem

This study is an investigation of the way Malaysian and Jordanian undergraduate students use apology strategies. A study of this scope of language use spotlights on the cultural differences that strike language users' attempts at expressing apologies. As misinterpretations occur between people of different cultures and to avoid cross-cultural conflicts, cultural differences have attracted many researchers' attention and this is what will be discussed below. Shortly, this study is focused on the differences, if any, in the expression of apology by Malaysian and Jordanian undergraduate students.

(1.2) Background of the study

The most important study were conducted by Blum-Kulka et al. (1989) and Kasper and Blum-Kulka (1993) in regards to the cultural and linguistic issues of apology in different languages and within one language(CCSARP). It's worth noting here that is the first study that investigated the speech acts of request and apology cross-culturally. Trosborg, (1987) as well as is more famous researcher for her apology strategies classification and often adopted as the model in other speech act of apology researches such as Hussein (1998).

Sapir (1962) and Whorf (1956) further, claim in their theory (Linguistic Relativity) that is what is found in one language may not be found in another language on account of cultural differences. (cf. Genc & Bada, 2005). This is as well in line with Trosborg (1987:147) who reports: "appropriate social behavior patterns, as they are perceived in Western societies, are built on the norms which constitute polite behavior" (cf. Rojo, 2005). As well known that what is believed as polite behavior diversifies among different socio-cultural groups. Therefore, those norms which form polite behavior will be varied amongst different societies. Thence, an apology is called for when social norms have been violated, whether the offence is real or potential (Olshtain & Cohen, 1983:20. cf. Trosborg, 1994 ).

According to Wolfson (1981), "speech acts differ cross-culturally not only in the way they are realized but also in their distribution, their frequency of occurrence, and in the functions they serve" (cf. Valdés 1986:119). Therefore, the level of misunderstanding between cultures depends on the degree of differences between the cultures concerned. Afterward, Brown (1987:123) claims, '' a language is a part of culture and a culture is a part of a language; the two are intricately interwoven such that one cannot separate the two without losing the significance of either language or culture''.

There is comparatively little information available about cultural differences between Jordanian Arabic and Malaysian English in the speech act of apology. The researcher has detected a few studies that examine cultural differences in the use of apologies between speakers of American English, Japanese and Chinese.

More comparative inter-language studies of apologizing include contrasting the use of this speech act in, primarily, American English with other languages including German (Vollmer & Olshtain 1989; Meier 1997),) Polish and Hungarian (Suszczynska1999), Spanish(Uruguay - Márquez Reiter 2000), Russian (Olhstain & Cohen 1983,) Hebrew (Olhstain& Cohen 1983; Olhstain 1989), finally Japan (Lingley, 2006), as well as between Irish and Chilean (Fahey, 2005) .

In addition, several monoculture studies of apologizing in English have been carried out. These include American English (Edmondson 1981; Fraser 1981; Wolfson, Marmor & Jones 1989; Tannen1994b), New Zealand English (Holmes 1989a, 1990) , British English (Owen 1983,

Aijmer 1995, 1996), British English (Deutschmann, 2003), and XITSONGA ,is one of the eleven official languages of South Africa, (Sombhanee, 2008).

However, there are little of studies that observe Jordanian apology such as Hussein and Hammouri (1998), and Bataineh (2004, 2008).Unfortunately, the researcher has not found studies detect Malaysian apology, but there are some of studies that investigate speech act in general and in particular speech act of complaint by Farnia, Buchheit, and binti Salim (2010).

Therefore, this study aims to bridge this gap in the field of intercultural pragmatics, which deals with the role of culture in intercultural communication. It also aims at providing essential insights not only for researchers, but also for Jordanian learners of English especially who study in Malaysia to avoid any misunderstanding between interlocutors.

(1.3) Research questions

The aim of this paper is to determine if the choice of the preferred strategies for apologizing in both sets of data is affected by cultural context. This is a comparative study which seeks to discover the similarities and differences between the way Malaysians and Jordanian apologize. More specifically, it aims at answering the following questions. The study attempts to answer the following questions:

»¿Which strategies of apology do speakers of Jordanian Arabic and Malaysians English use?

»¿What are the differences, if any, between the strategies the males and females of each group use in apologizing?

Does the ethnicity of the Malaysian interlocutors affect speakers' perception of the apology situations?

(1.4) Significance of the study

The significance of the study lies in the fact that it is aimed at:

It bridges an existing gap in research and, thus, enriches the field of intercultural pragmatics.

This Study is momentous in the field of sociopragmatic competence in Malaysian English and Jordanian Arabic since it implies the way speech acts have to be varied in relation to situation (Harlow, 1990).

Since Jordanian- Malaysian ties are being consolidated now days. It is hoped that such a study will highlight on the differences between Jordanian and Malaysian in the speech act of apology which may, in time, help speakers avoid misunderstandings such as the standoff between Japan and USA due to Ehime Mar Incident (2001) and then the events were escalated because there are differences in the apology styles of Americans and Japanese (Lingley, 2006).

There is great white hope that the findings of this study form the basis for future studies in the area of examining more types of speech act concerning Malaysian culture.

Raise awareness of foreign language learners about the cultural differences that can lead to misunderstandings with speakers of another or the same language.

This study also is hoped to achieve a better understanding of cultures and avoid stereotypes.

The present study aims at offering a further contribution to the development of pragmatic research in the both Malaysian and Jordanian languages, as well as shedding light on the importance of pragmatic studies on cultural understanding.

(1.5) Limitation of the study

This study has several limitations in choosing subjects and collecting data from students. Limitations include the areas of the subject group and the study instrument. Anyway, this study regarding of speech acts in general, and in particular the study of the speech act of apologizing, refer principally to the method of gathering significant data. Moreover, there are other limitations involved in the use of questionnaires. However, written responses may not actually correspond with oral performance in real life. Furthermore, they may not reveal pragmatic features of spoken interactions. Drawing on Cohen and Olshtain (1981) that the discourse completion test may not be the best way to obtain authentic data. Participants can write their response on it that is less possible in a naturalistic. Although this study attempts to bridge a gap in the field of intercultural pragmatics, there are certain limitations that the researcher has to acknowledge:

Malaysia is considered a multi-racial, multi-cultural, multi-religious and multilingual country. Although the Bahasa Malaysia is the home language of the majority group in Malaysia, the fact that most Malaysian Chinese speak Mandarin, or several other Chinese dialects such as Cantonese, Hokkien, Hakka, Teo Chew, and Hainanese. The majority of Malaysian Indians speak either Tamil or other Indian dialects, for example, Malayalem, Hindi, Punjabi, and Telegu (Ishak, 2009) . Therefore, the data will be gathered in this study regarding Malaysian participants in English form and that due for additional three reasons :

Malaysians are trilinguals or bilinguals at the very least.

English is the second official language in Malaysia, so it is taught in all schools as a compulsory second language.

All the Malaysian participants are undergraduate students in English Major.

Data regarding Jordanian participants will be collected in Arabic form and that because of two crucial reasons:

There are no Jordanian female students studying English major in the UKM, Malaysia university, and that is beyond the power of the researcher.

Jordanian participants will be more natural in expressing apology in their native language.

Gender was the only variable factor that examined. Variables relating to how the respondents perceived context-external factors such as differences in power, social distance, perception of seriousness, and type of social contract have not been controlled.

Neither the pragmatic nor the grammatical appropriateness of the respondents' utterances was addressed in this study, something which the researchers intend to rectify in future research.

The findings may not be generalizable to all the Jordanian Arabic and Malaysian speakers since it deals with undergraduate students who, as members of a subculture, have their own style of apology.

An additional limitation results from the absence of the investigation of the power of social factors like educational level, social status and background.

The fact that no researcher can control the seriousness of the participants' responses may leave a margin of doubt as to whether or not the strategies used are those students use in real-life situations.

The fact that data collection will be done through two instruments, i.e. the discourse completion test and oral role-plays. According to Rintell and Mitchell (1989) reported that their respondents provided shorter responses to the DCT than to oral role-plays in English requests and apologies. Since responses in role-play instruments allows researchers to gain more interactive data then is available from DCT by examining the verbal responses of the participants. Moreover, role-play allows participants sufficient time to respond; thus, researchers can gain more interactive data (Zhang, 2008: 34).