Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages

First Advisor

Charkova, Krassimira

Abstract

Compliments, speech acts used to establish and reinforce solidity in human interaction, are employed extensively in various social situations. The act of giving compliments as well as responding to compliments may differ for various social contexts and cultural norms. Particularly for second language learners, the target environment may influence the way they employ compliments in their second language. This study aimed to investigate the compliment responses of Chinese second language speakers of English in view of their length of stay in the US and topic of the compliment. Four participant groups included a US group, and three Chinese ESL groups with different length of stay in the US. Both quantitative and qualitative results indicated that the four groups shared a similar tendency to employ compliment responses. These results suggest that there may be a new concept of culture developing, which is not bound to geographic location and first language.

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