Comparative Cross-Cultural Analysis of Compliments in English and Persian Series

Aliakbar Jafarpour Boroujeni, Masoud Rahimi Domakani, Samira Sheykhi


With the growth of interests in the study of compliments, this subject has become a major issue in the areas of interactional sociolinguistics and cross-cultural language studies. In the same line, this study compares the compliment responses (CRs) of native Persian speakers with those of native speakers of American English in TV series to find similarities and differences in the use of CRs in both languages. The data are from the two TV series broadcasted in 1994 and 2013. For analyzing the data, this study employs Herbert’s (1986) three main categories including agreement, non-agreement, and other interpretation and different CRs varieties (appreciation token, reassignment, scale down, etc to identify the sociopragmatic realizations of CRs and the role of gender in this respect. Upon a scrutiny, the findings of this study reveal that in each language, the use of CRs varieties are culturally dependent and gender cannot be an issue in determining the CRs varieties in each language. Taking the results of this study into account, they can  provide a strong skeleton by which many language practitioners and writers can have better understanding of the cultural boundaries in designing activities of the books, which highly focus on the pragmatic function of language, and avoiding communicational breakdown for EFL learners. Moreover, this study gives EFL learners and teachers a bunch of information to explain why one variety of CRs is used more than others in a language comparing to the other type of language variety. 


Cross-cultural Language studies, Compliment response, Herbert’s taxonomy of CRs

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