Local grammars and intercultural speech act studies: A study of apologies in four English varieties

Hang Su, Xiaofei Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This study proposes a local grammar approach to intercultural speech act studies, which is demonstrated by an investigation into apologies in Hong Kong, Singaporean, Indian, and British Englishes. Drawing on data taken from the respective components of the International Corpus of English, the investigation revealed a mixed picture of the ways in which apologies were performed by speakers of the Englishes under examination, which may be ascribed to the differences existing in cultural norms of the target language and those of one's own and, consequently, a strategic compromise between speakers' efforts to conform to the cultural norms of the target language and efforts to retain their own. This leads to a further argument that apologies in the three selected Asian Englishes might have undergone a mixed process of language indigenisation and pragmatic nativisation. Methodologically, the study shows that local grammars can reliably quantify speech act realizations across contexts or corpora, thereby offering a useful methodology to facilitate intercultural, and other kinds of contrastive, speech act studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-404
Number of pages28
JournalIntercultural Pragmatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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