The art of the (non-) apology

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Politicians, baseball stars, and other celebrities don't need this training. Nor do regular readers of Language Log. But for others, yesterday's Basic Instructions may be useful:

(Click on image for larger version.)


(If you're one of those who still have trouble with the evolution of "as such", it may help to read this.)

Your linguistically challenged friends may also benefit from these instructions for speaking with foreigners:

[Hat tip to Rick Rubenstein]

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13 Comments »

  1. Threads from Henry’s Web » How to Apologize said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 10:08 am

    [...] excellent cartoon at Language Log. If you're into language and you don't read Language Log, you're missing [...]

  2. Polly Glot said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 10:39 am

    I don't understand why apologizing is seen by some people as loss of face; surely you only really lose face when you don't apologize. Anyway, another form of non-apology is distracting the aggrieved person with twinkling objects. With luck, and if it's carried out with enough charm, it smoothes things over.

  3. Laurent C said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 11:06 am

    The advice of speaking slowly to a foreigner is not that bad – provided they know a little bit of your language. Some native speakers will only speak louder, as if they talked to a hearing-impaired person. This is really useless.

  4. DYSPEPSIA GENERATION » Blog Archive » The art of the (non-) apology said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 1:17 pm

    [...] Read it. [...]

  5. Larry Sheldon said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 1:39 pm

    I'm sorry some right-wing nutcase taped me saying I think the hurricane hitting the Republicans is proof that there is a God.

  6. Sili said,

    September 1, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

    Since we're on the funnies: Looks like Brizendine and her ilk have made it into the papers again.

  7. Bloix said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 10:47 am

    I'm offended by the egregious misuse of "as such."

  8. Mark Liberman said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 11:06 am

    Bloix: I'm offended by the egregious misuse of "as such."

    And the rest of us should care because ___ ?

  9. Joe said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 2:53 pm

    > I'm sorry some right-wing nutcase taped me saying I think the hurricane hitting the Republicans is proof that there is a God.

    They got you, too? I wonder how many people they got…

  10. Bloix said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 2:25 pm

    It's a joke, Mark. If you don't get it, don't worry about it.

  11. Amys Welt said,

    September 3, 2008 @ 6:30 pm

    Das machte meinen Abend: How to Apologize When You're Not Sure What You Did……

    Basic Instructions: How to Apologize When You're Not Sure What You Did…
    The Art of the (Non-) Apology
    [via Language Log]
    Wie der großartige Randy Pausch zu berichten wusste:
    "Proper apologies have three parts: 1. What I did …

  12. Noli Irritare Leones » Blog Archive » What I’m reading said,

    October 23, 2008 @ 10:29 am

    [...] The art of the (non-) apology – plus, as a bonus, How To Talk To Someone Who Speaks a Foreign Language. Via Democracy in America. [...]

  13. You Lie! « Literal-Minded said,

    September 11, 2009 @ 1:55 pm

    [...] that the speaker was a representative from South Carolina, who offered an actual apology (not a non-apology) for this breach of respect, only to say later that he'd done it because his party leadership [...]

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