IJCH 2016 Vol.2(3): 122-131 ISSN: 2382-6177
doi: 10.18178/ijch.2016.2.3.050

Akan Pre-eventive Apologies or Apologetic Signals

Yaw Sekyi-Baidoo
Abstract—Apologies have been seen generally as post-eventive acts which seek to repair damage to rapport. A study of the nature of apologies among the Akan reveals, however, that there exists also a strong tradition of pre-eventive apologies, by which one apologises for an impending damage to rapport or threat to another’s face. This paper investigates pre-eventive apologies among the Akans of Ghana. It looks at the basic differences between the pre- and the post eventive apologies and attempts to place each of them within the general framework of politeness. Again, the paper studies the felicity conditions or the sociopragmatic as well as the pramalingual principles that govern the effective use of pre-eventive apologies. The paper establishes that though the Akan places a lot of importance on post-eventive apologies as a politeness strategy, pre-eventive apologies are also deemed to be very crucial in determining one’s politeness as well as one’s communicative competence; since they unlike the post-eventive, prevent or avoid rather than repair damages to rapport and politeness. Finally the paper discusses situations in which the principles of pre-eventive apologies may be exploited for impoliteness.

Index Terms—Apology, face, politeness, pre-eventive.

Yaw Sekyi-Baidoo is with the Division of International Relations and Public Affairs of the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana (e-mail: ysekyibaidoo@gmail.com).


Cite: Yaw Sekyi-Baidoo, "Akan Pre-eventive Apologies or Apologetic Signals," International Journal of Culture and History vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 122-131, 2016.

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