Politeness in a Moroccan EFL Classroom: How Students of High School Using Apologizing Strategies in English?



  • Zaid Hmouri Department of English, Ibn Tofail University, Kenitra, Morocco


Politeness, interlanguage pragmatics, speech acts, apology, communication


This qualitative/quantitative study investigates Moroccan high school EFL learners’ apologizing strategies based upon a theoretical framework of politeness strategies and the Cross-Cultural Speech Act Realization Patterns (CCSARP) model. It investigates whether they approach native speakers’ apology norms or their own cultural way of apologizing. To achieve this goal, four first-year baccalaureate classes (Science Experimental Physics major) were observed and then a sample of 64 subjects was randomly selected to fill in a written discourse completion test which had 6 apology situations. All the responses are classified according to both politeness strategies and CCSARP model used by Blum-kulka et al. (1989). The observed classes during the training showed that Moroccan first-year baccalaureate students used an off-record super strategy while apologizing (the use of hints) to the teacher, whereas the teacher used positive politeness while addressing his pupils. The results of the discourse completion test (DCT) revealed that Illocutionary indicating devices (IFIDs) plus an explanation of account (IFIDs + Account) is the most frequently used apology strategy by the subjects. More than 60% employed this semantic formula in all six situations. The use of IFIDs and explanation of account were significantly linked to the effect of subjects’ L1 and due to the impact of their own collective-agency culture. Hence, choosing to use that strategy by the subjects was pragmatically unsuccessful and would be inappropriate by the apologizer since it does not meet the apology norms of native speakers of English, and it indicates and follows the Moroccan culture norms and rules. The paper concludes with some practical suggestions for improving the teaching of apologies.



How to Cite

Hmouri, Z. (2022). Politeness in a Moroccan EFL Classroom: How Students of High School Using Apologizing Strategies in English?. International Journal of Linguistics and Translation Studies, 3(3), 97–112. https://doi.org/10.36892/ijlts.v3i3.240