‘A Cross-cultural Investigation of Compliments and Compliment Responses: Comparing Persian Speakers, EFL Learners and English Native Speakers’ by Rozana Shamsabadi & Abbas Eslami Rasekh


Compliments are one of the speech acts which require tact as there are cross-cultural differences which make them different across languages.  The research presented here is a comparison of compliment strategies across English and Persian. A cross linguistic comparison is made between three data types: Native Persian (NP), Native English (NE) and non-native English (NNE) to find the differences that exist between three groups of performances in the two languages. 30 advanced EFL learners, both male and female undergraduate and graduate students participated in this study. Family members were tape recorded for collecting natural data.  An open-ended DCT was employed for collecting data for our inferential and descriptive statistical analysis. The results of the analysis of data collected suggested that EFL learners differ from NE speakers in their Politeness strategies in giving and responding to compliment. The reasons were discovered to be both communicative incompetence and L1 transfer. Persian learners of English transfer some of their L1 pragmatic norms to L2 because they perceive these norms to be universal resulting from lack of awareness of the sociocultural norms governing compliments.

Index Terms: compliment, compliment response, speech act, cross-cultural differences

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