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Title: Compliments in English : a study of Taiwanese EFL learners' and native speakers' production and perceptions
Author: Lin, Chih-Ying
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 3051
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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The present study investigates the speech act of compliments by Taiwanese EFL learners and British English students with particular focus on (a) the employment of compliment strategies, (b) the effect of compliment topic and the gender of compliment receiver on the performance of compliment strategies, (c) the perceptions of the influence of compliment topic and the gender of compliment receiver, and (d) the cognitive processes involved in the planning and production of compliments. This study recruited 20 Taiwanese EFL learners and 20 British English students, equally gendered in each group. Role plays which were designed based on compliment topic and the gender of compliment receivet.eeere employed to collect the compliment production data and were analyzed by descriptive and inferential statistics (i.e., independent-samples r-test and four-way mixed ANOVA). Retrospective verbal reports (RVRs) were conducted with the two groups of participants to elicit their perceptions and cognitive processes and were analyzed inductively and deductively. In terms of compliment performance, both Taiwanese and British participants tended to offer Explicit compliments across all the situations, with the latter group producing significantly more than the former group. Statistical significant differences were also identified between the two groups of respondents in the employment of four Implicit compliment sub-strategies. Furthermore, this study evidenced the complexity of the compliment performance influenced by the interaction effect between different social variables. Results from the RVRs indicated not only between-groups but also within-group variations in the perceptions of the effect of compliment topic and the gender of compliment receiver. Results further suggested the mediating role of social distance in the act of compliment-giving for the two groups of participants. Moreover, Taiwanese and British participants focused their attention on different aspects of contextual information of the compliment situations, confirming the significance of the content-enriched design of situational prompts. Furthermore, the RVRs were indicative of two factors affecting the compliment performance of both groups, that is, perceived functions of compliments and linguistic difficulties. In addition, Taiwanese EFL learners reported a preference for thinking in English during the planning and production of compliments. The findings are discussed in relation to theoretical and methodological contributions for compliment studies as well as pragmatics research in general. Pedagogical implications are explored with respect to instruction in pragmalinguistic and sociopragmatic knowledge as part of enhancing Taiwanese students' pragmatic knowledge and raising learners' pragmatic awareness of intralingual and social variations in pragmatic performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available