Face-Enhancing Strategies in Compliment Responses by Canadian University Students
This study examines strategies employed by students at Cape Breton University (Canada) in performing the speech act of responding to compliments in eight different situations. The data were collected by means of a Discourse Completion Task questionnaire. The findings suggest that the 25 participants exclusively use verbal responses and display a very strong preference for complex responses (e.g. thanking + commenting, shifting credit + offering) to boost the face of the compliment giver. Contrary to several studies that found appreciation tokens (e.g. ‘thank you`) to be the most preferred responses in many English-speaking regions, the respondents in our study most commonly combine appreciation tokens with comments. Overall, the participants do not use negative compliment responses and they generally employ appreciation tokens in the construction of complex responses. The present study is a contribution to research on speech acts in Canadian English and it offers a basis for comparison with other regional varieties of English or other languages.
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