Publication details [#54604]

Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


This paper examines two pseudo-apologies in the news. Apologies have been defined as involving acceptance of responsibility for an offense and an acknowledgment of its wrongfulness. In contrast, pseudo-apologies index a stance lacking in remorse. This examination of a deviant type of apology reveals some of the limits that mediation imposes on more prototypical apologies: the more a speaker is viewed as attending to the interests of parties other than the offended party/ies, the greater the detriment to the apology. The paper proposes that the polysemy of I’m sorry (and, via association, I apologize), which can serve as both apology and expression of sympathy, provides the functional structure for the pseudo-apologies examined here.