Accept our most sorrowful regret = apology ?

m1517luther

Member
Thai
Following the fatal hostage rescue attempt in Manila being hailed as the most poorly trained ever, the Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT, "Sorry, We Aren't Trained") of Philippines issued an official statement to the Chinese tourists, saying "It is our hope that you and your families will accept our most sorrowful regret and profound sympathy."

The lawyer representing the victims said "the most sorrowful regret" does not imply an apology, but the whole sentence does have a sense of apology. The headlines of every Chinese media on that day was about whether the Philippines aplogized. Was the lawyer right?
 
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  • bennymix

    Senior Member
    The statement says that these officials, or the Philippine government, have feelings of deep (=sorrowful) regret over what happened.

    It is near to an apology, but falls short as to what was done, by whom, and who is responsible.

    Suppose you were driving, drunk, and jump the curb and hit my wife walking, legally, on the sidewalk. When she's in hospital, you simply say to me, "I have deep regrets about what happened," is that far enough?
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I do not consider it an apology. It is not personal. It does not accept any responsibility for it.

    We can be sorry about something, we can regret that it happened, without apologizing for it. For example: I regret the deaths of hundreds of high-school students in the recent ferry sinking in South Korea. I have profound sympathy for their families and friends. I can't apologize for it, though, because I had nothing to do with it: I was on the other side of the world at the time and have no connection to South Korean shipping.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    To apologise is to perform a speech act. There are conventional psychological states that accompany speech acts.

    So if you congratulate someone (another speech act), you conventionally feel happy for that person. But in truth you can grit your teeth and still congratulate someone even if you feel very jealous of their achievement. What you say, 'My heartiest congratulations!' is an acceptable way of performing the speech act, however you feel.

    Apologising is funny, because the conventional way of performing that act is to say 'sorry', and this focusses on the psychological state: someone is sorry or regretful about something that happened. But again, you can apologise without feeling sorry, and you can say, 'I apologise' without feeling particularly regretful. I suppose the key is accepting blameworthiness - as Benny and Egmont have pointed out. It is this aspect of an apology that is missing.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    Good points, nat.
    At the same time, though, I'm sure you would agree that this is an apology for something insulting I said to you, in front of others:
    "I am very sorry for what I said about you. It was uncalled for. I will do whatever I can to repair damage to your reputation, including making this statement public and adding that I've never known you to be less than honorable and honest in every way. My words were entirely inaccurate and I deeply regret saying them."

    Sincerity is what's looked for, and expression of feeling, acceptance of responsibility, specificity, lack of evasion, and willingness to address harms done, are part of the 'speech act'--person act-- of apologizing.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If a person said that to me, I would understand that they wanted me to believe in the sincerity of their regret for what they had done, and I would understand it as equivalent to an apology.

    In relationships between countries, interactions are more complicated, and the exact words used can determine all sorts of things, such as who is expected to pay for something, how the countries will relate to each other and so on. For the most part, I leave that to the diplomats and lawyers whose job it is to know about such things.
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    The original text mentions 'regret' but it's not connected or described as to cause or reason. Hence your [Cagey's] phrase

    {post #8}
    "regret for what they had done"
    does not quite explicate the sentence. It 'reads in,' in my opinion.

    That is why my suggestion as to meaning involved 'regret for what happened, as did my example
    in post #2.

    ==
    Cagey's post in full:

    If a person said that to me, I would understand that they wanted me to believe in the sincerity of their regret for what they had done, and I would understand it as equivalent to an apology.

    In relationships between countries, interactions are more complicated, and the exact words used can determine all sorts of things, such as who is expected to pay for something, how the countries will relate to each other and so on. For the most part, I leave that to the diplomats and lawyers whose job it is to know about such things.
     
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