Compliment responses among native and non-native English speakers: Evidence of pragmatic transfer from Swedish into English
Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 15 credits / 22,5 HE creditsStudent thesis
The study of appropriateness in language use is part of pragmatics, and how speakers give and respond to complements is a source of data in such studies. Compliments are strategies to explicitly or implicitly ascribe qualities that are mutually appreciated by the speaker and the addressee of a compliment. When individuals from different cultures interact in conversations, including the giving and receiving of compliments, and their behaviour is based on different conventions, it may lead to misunderstandings. Earlier studies (Cedar, 2006 & Sharifian, 2005, 2008) suggest that pragmatic transfer can cause cross-cultural misunderstanding. Second language users seem to transfer first language pragmatic rules into second language domains. This study will examine whether pragmatic transfer occurs in Swedish as first language into English as a second language in compliment responses. It will be assumed that pragmatic conventions are influenced by both linguistic and social norms. A Discourse completion task was used in order to obtain the data. The Discourse completion task consisted of one questionnaire in English, and one translated into Swedish, with situations where a compliment was given and the participant was instructed to imagine him/herself in that situation and give their most probable response to that compliment. The results showed that there was no significant difference between compliment responses given in Swedish and those given in English by native Swedish speakers. Thus, pragmatic transfer could have occurred. The Swedish participants’ compliment responses were also compared to compliment responses of Scottish English L1 speakers. The results are discussed in relation to other studies of pragmatic transfer in compliment responses, and suggestions for future research are considered.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 28 p.
Compliment responses, Swedish, English, Pragmatic transfer, Social norms.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-36990OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-36990DiVA: diva2:291576