|Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)|
Exercise 1: Cross-cultural Comparison of Apologies
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• Japanese apology expressions used in the dialogue were: ごめんなさい gomennasai, 申し訳ありません moushiwake arimasen, （本当に）すみませんでした (hontouni) sumimasen deshita.
• You may find that Japanese speakers repeat the apology several times. One or two times may not be enough for a serious offense. The key strategy to learn from this exercise is that repetition is an important sign of sincerity in formal or serious offense situations, and that different apology expressions, not just one, are likely to be used repeatedly in formal apologies.
• Also notice how emphatically the speakers give apologies. As they are pronounced, vowels in apology expressions are often lengthened hesitantly. This speech feature will often communicate a tone of sincerity.