Sorry Used by L2 Adult Learner: Managing Learning Opportunity and Interpersonal Relationship in Classroom Interaction

  •  Ruowei Yang    
  •  Xing Zhang    


This study investigates functions of sorry in L2 Chinese classroom interactions through the conversation analysis approach with an aim to investigate the relationship between sorry and L2 learning and possible functions of sorry in managing interpersonal relationships in classroom interactions. Through analysis of 36 hours’ video-recorded classroom interaction, this research shows that the non-apologetic sorry could be employed by adult learners to obtain various learning opportunities, such as active participation, production of appropriate responses, active use of target language, and attempts to solve problems that are not designed in the teaching agenda. Moreover, sorry could be used as a strategy for constructing polite co-operation and to mitigate possible offenses against tutors during classroom interactions, as well as to manage interpersonal relationships based upon the theoretical framework of politeness. Findings from this study can also help us understand how sorry serves pragmatic purposes for L2 classroom interaction and provide us with pedagogical implications for L2 learning and teaching. Future studies need to examine sorry as used by L2 learners in conversational turns other than the same turn, as well as at different positions of a turn, to provide evidence for its functions in classroom interaction.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1923-869X
  • ISSN(Online): 1923-8703
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: bimonthly

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