It is probably the most over-used word in the United Kingdom: whether they are sorry about the weather or sorry because someone else has bumped into them, chances are your average Briton has blurted out at least one apology in the past hour or two.
But do the British really apologise more frequently than members of other cultures?
Getting reliable data on the frequency of apologies in different countries is harder than you might think. But the survey found similarities between the British and American respondents, as well: just under three-quarters of people from either country would say sorry for interrupting.
But in her book Watching the English, social anthropologist Kate Fox describes experiments in which she deliberately bumped into hundreds of people in towns and cities across England.
She also encouraged colleagues to do the same abroad, for comparison. Often American girl Mendip apology was mumbled, and possibly people said it without even realising it, but compared to when tourists from other countries were bumped, the difference was marked.
And herein lies another problem with studying cultural differences in languages. America, on the other hand, is a positive-politeness society, characterised by friendliness and a desire to feel part of a group.
Credit: Alamy. Further experiments What to text a guy about in United Kingdom it was the apology about the weather that matterednot the politeness of the opening sentence. Women are often presumed to be. To test if this stereotype stood up to scrutiny, Schumann recruited a group of university students to keep a journal for 12 days. They listed every situation they encountered where they felt an Saint Helens men gay was deserved and whether or not one had been given.
When this was taken into account, men and women proved equally likely to apologise for their transgressions. So what about those circumstances when we are aware that we genuinely owe someone an apology?
A good apology is unlikely to backfire, and is more likely to increase trust than not apologising at all. This story is a part of BBC Britain — a series focused on Lady lux High Wycombe this extraordinary island, one story at a time. Only the Japanese seem to have anything even approaching the English sorry-reflex — Kate Fox. A sign of weakness? Open share tools. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.
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The 20 biggest differences between dating in the UK and the US
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