A contrastive study of compliment responses among Australian English and Mandarin Chinese speakers
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This study investigates compliment responses (CRs) among Australian English and Mandarin Chinese speakers. The data werecollected through the use of written discourse completion tasks, with four situational settings (appearance, character, ability andpossession).Atotal of 60 university-student informants participated in the study. The findings demonstrate a consistent tendency acrossthe macro, micro and combination levels for the Chinese participants to use less of the Accept strategy, and more of Evade and Rejectstrategies than their Australian counterparts; that is, the Chinese express appreciation to a compliment less and denigrate themselvesmore. For the Chinese participants, an implicit and ?detouring? approach is at least as desirable as an explicit CR. This is in line withmodesty and collectivism?pillars of Chinese culture. Australians on the other hand prefer using explicit CRs. Another finding is thatthe Chinese participants used far fewer combination strategies than the Australians, indicating that the Australians made more effortwhen responding tocompliments. The variant linguistic manipulations of CRsshown in this study indicate that any universalCRmodelwill fail, because different cultures have different sets of protocols. The findings in this study add a new dimension to the study of CRuse.
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