Thanks Response Strategies in Cameroon French

Bernard Mulo Farenkia


This study is designed to investigate strategies used by Cameroon French speakers to respond to gratitude expressions. Principles from three theoretical frameworks, i.e., cross-cultural pragmatics, the conception of French as a pluricentric language and postcolonial pragmatics were used to guide the study. The study was based on data from 148 French-speaking Cameroonian university students using a Data completion task questionnaire. The analysis focused on the pragmatic functions, realization patterns, and situational distribution of thanks response strategies as well as on supportive acts used to modify thanks responses. The results indicate five groups of thanks response strategies emerging from the corpus and the most common strategies used by the respondents are those intended to mitigate or even negate the magnitude of the favor. The findings also show that thanks response strategies are realized in different ways and that they are distributed differently across the three situations retained for this study. It was also found that thanks responses occur either as single acts or as combinations of many acts. The supportive acts attested in the data are employed to mitigate or intensify thanks responses, and to save or enhance the faces of the speaker and/or the addressee. The limitations of the study’s findings are highlighted, and avenues for future research outlined.

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