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Compliments and Compliment Responses in New Zealand English

Janet Holmes
Anthropological Linguistics
Vol. 28, No. 4 (Winter, 1986), pp. 485-508
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30028355
Page Count: 22
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Compliments and Compliment Responses in New Zealand English
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Abstract

This paper illustrates how compliments may function, on the one hand, as positively affective speech acts and as exemplary positive politeness strategies, and, on the other, as potentially face threatening acts. Using a corpus of over 500 compliment exchanges an analysis is provided of the syntactic and lexical patterns characterizing compliments and the functional categories of compliment responses in New Zealand English. The topics involved, the relative status of givers and receivers of compliments, and the discourse contexts in which they occur are examined. This analysis provides a basis for further discussion of the function of compliments. Crosscultural differences in complimenting behaviour are briefly discussed and some methodological issues and suggestions for further research are outlined.

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