- Hardcover: 232 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (June 2, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0199300917
- ISBN-13: 978-0199300914
- Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 6.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #534,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Sorry About That: The Language of Public Apology 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Conditional apologies, vague apologies, apologies not accepted: Why is it so hard to say we're sorry and be done with it? With a clear eye and prose that never drags, Ed Battistella brilliantly illuminates the hidden dynamics of public apologies from the Oprah Winfrey Show to Mel Gibson's downfall and from Joe Biden's doubletalk to Woodrow Wilson's shoelace-chewing mea culpa. You won't be sorry you read this book." --David Skinner, author of The Story of Ain't: America, Its Language, and the Most Controversial Dictionary Ever Published
"Sorry About That is a bracing catalogue of human folly that stuck with me after I'd finished reading it. Battistella provides a panoramic view of shameful episodes and the subsequent apologies, confessions, and denials whose language he keenly dissects, in order to show all the ways that we have to genuinely apologize -- and to wiggle free. Observers of public language will love the book. (So too, alas, will serial offenders.)" --Michael Erard, author of Babel No More: The Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Language Learners
"Edwin Battistella's readable and incisive Sorry About That explains why some apologies succeed, or at least avoid exacerbating the original offense, but most of them fail." --Wall St. Journal
"By examining the grammatical and rhetorical structure of such apologies, Battistella shows that our anxieties and confusions about confession are rooted in a deeper ambiguity that defines the genre of apology more broadly: the tension between the culpable self and the apologetic self." --Christian Century
About the Author
Edwin L. Battistella teaches linguistics and writing at Southern Oregon University in Ashland, where he has served as a dean and as interim provost. He is the author of Do You Make These Mistakes in English? (OUP, 2009), Bad Language (OUP, 2005), and The Logic of Markedness (OUP, 1996).
Top customer reviews
Battistella writes smoothly and finds the right tone to bring academic analysis to a general audience. It's a well crafted book worthy of all the attention it is getting. And even though this book is about public apologies, it made me change my own way of apologizing. Here's the short of it: I name what I did, I acknowledge how it affected the other, I offer an apology.
The examples offered are in the public domaine but the principles apply to our personal lives as well. While it is a linguistic approach to the subject, it is very readable and accessible to all.
As someone who loves language, I enjoyed the way Battistella deconstructed various forms of apology; as someone who is consistently fascinated by the appalling things people say, I enjoyed seeing their apologies analyzed; we can often tell on a basic level when an apology is insincere, and in his examples, Battistella shows us precisely why. As one example, of Mel Gibson’s apology for his anti-Semitic tirade after being arrested for driving under the influence, Battistella points out that Gibson “attributes his words and behavior to another self—one under the influence of alcohol. But his statement merely highlights the question of whether his inebriated beliefs are more deeply held than those of his sober persona. Gibson’s apology also fails by specifically apologizing only for his belligerence and for drunk driving, without naming his other offenses…”
While these anecdotes are compelling in themselves, the book goes into much more than the good and bad apologies of public figures; it looks at the process of apology, inherited guilt, and apology and gender, among many other issues. Battistella’s examples span from America’s first sex scandal (Alexander Hamilton in the 1790s) to the very famous Clinton-Lewinsky affair, and he looks at the nature of apology and self-reflection as far back as the fourth century. SORRY ABOUT THAT, taking a fascinating look at moments in human history through how we apologize, is great reading for historians, linguists, and anyone interested in celebrity and political culture.