Apologizing in Spanish: A study of the strategies used by university students in las palmas de gran Canaria

María-Isabel González-Cruz


This article provides insights into the strategies used by a group of university students of Canarian origin to perform the speech act of apologizing. Though Canarian Spanish has been recognised as one of the most deeply studied dialects in the Hispanic world (Medina 1996; Álvarez 1996; Corrales, Álvarez and Corbella 2007), little has been said about this variety at the socio-pragmatic level, and, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have been carried out on the issue of speech acts, let alone about apologies in Canarian Spanish. This article attempts to start filling this gap by describing the most frequent apology strategies used by one hundred university students at the ULPGC (Canary Islands, Spain) when apologizing in eight different situations. Following the lines of many other studies, we obtained the data through the application of a Discourse Completion Test, slightly adapted from the well-known CCSARP (Cross-cultural Speech Act Realisation Project). Gender differences are explored, along with the role of other situational factors such as degree of familiarity between the participants, severity of the offense and age of the offended person. Suggestions for further work in the fields of intercultural pragmatics and EFL teaching and learning are also given.

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