Rathmayr R. Strategies of Conflict Resolution and Mitigation: The Potential of the Speech Act of Apologizing in the Perspective of Intercultural Pragmatics

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2020.1.1

Renate Rathmayr

Doctor of Sciences (Philology), Professor, Department of Foreign Language Business Communication, Institute of Slavic Languages, Vienna University of Economics and Business

Welthandelsplatz, 1, D2.3.202, A-1020 Vienna, Austria

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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3038-2276


Abstract. The article considers the linguistic and communicative nature of an apology (a request for forgiveness) as a corrective action that is aimed at preventing or mitigating conflict. By analyzing speech situations from Russian and Austrian culture and their illustrations in literary sources, it is established that apology occupies an intermediate position between performative and non-performative utterance. There have been recorded the situations, where even serious damage can be removed by an apology or an apology in combination with compensation. There are three categories of apologies: metacommunicative, conventional and substantive apologies. The latter two are described in the article. The hypothesis of the study is substantiated by the thesis that the apology depends not only on the severity of the damage, but also on the traditions of culture and peculiarities of the communicative situation. This issue is one of the insufficiently studied questions of linguistics. The article allocates the cultural universals of apologetic speech actions and culturally specific features of apology situations in Russian and Austrian cultures. It is shown that in the sphere of politics, even decades after the infliction of serious harm, a sincere apology for an insult or violation of the norms of behavior, uttered by the responsible person or his descendant, can be the basis for improving inter-state relations.

Key words: speech act of apology, conflict, aggression, conflict prevention, conflict mitigation, Russian culture, Austrian culture, comparative pragmatics.

Citation. Rathmayr R. Strategies of Conflict Resolution and Mitigation: The Potential of the Speech Act of Apologizing in the Perspective of Intercultural Pragmatics. Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 2. Yazykoznanie [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. Linguistics], 2020, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 6-17. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu2.2020.1.1

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