Caught between Two Cultures: Pragmatic Transfer in English-using Pakistanis Apology Responses

Keywords: pragmatics, cultural and social rules, apology responses, pragmatic transfer.


In Pragmatics, scholars have given special attention to study the influence of leaners culture and social rules in understanding and using target language pragmatics. For this purpose, speech acts have been studied quite widely. This study investigates the speech act of responding to apology in Pakistani English, British English and Pakistani Urdu, and tries to highlight whether respondents transfer their cultural and social rules in the target language or not. The present study followed quantitative approach for data collection and analysis. A discourse completion test (DCT), consists of 12 apology response scenarios is used for data collection. The findings illustrate that English-using Pakistanis pragmatic choices are clearly influenced by their perceptions of various sociocultural and contextual variables. The English-using Pakistanis and Pakistani Urdu speakers are found using two main strategies (Acceptance, and Acknowledgment). In contrast, British English speakers tend to use Acceptance and Evasion strategies more often. Further, the findings have indicated that English-using Pakistanis and Pakistani Urdu speakers have used more Rejection strategies than their British English counterparts, though such communicative features are not salient in their ARs, and Pakistanis are surprisingly found quite clear and direct. The findings of the study may be helpful to English teachers who should be made aware that L2 learners’ pragmatic transfer is influenced by learners’ culture and social rules, and, as a result, should not be treated simply as a pragmatic ‘error’ or ‘failure’ to be corrected and criticized.


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Author Biographies

Tahir Saleem, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

PhD in Linguistics & Literature, Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

Rabia Batool, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

M.Phil in Applied Linguistics, Lecturer in English, English Language Centre, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

Aisha Saleem, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

PhD in English Scholar, Lecturer in English, English Language Centre, University of Central Punjab Lahore Pakistan.

Summiya Azam, University of Lahore Pakistan.

M.Phil in Applied Linguistics, Lecturer in English, Department of English, University of Lahore Pakistan.


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How to Cite
Saleem, T., Batool, R., Saleem, A., & Azam, S. (2020). Caught between Two Cultures: Pragmatic Transfer in English-using Pakistanis Apology Responses. Amazonia Investiga, 9(35), 5-19.