This research aims to investigate a subdivision of speech acts,
compliments and compliment responses, and to see how EFL learners in
Taiwan perceive and return compliments. The participants were
sixty-seven first year English majors from two universities in
Northern Taiwan. They were asked to fill out a set of discourse
completion task questions regarding compliments. After the
participants completed the discourse completion task questions, the
data were collected and the responses were categorized into different
types according to Herbert's taxonomy of compliment responses. The
results showed that EFL learners do perceive compliments and give
compliment responses in ways that are different from other cultural
groups. It is evident that there is first culture transfer in
compliments and compliment responses. EFL learners tend to accept
compliments readily with appreciation token and comment acceptance.
Such a behavior is against the principle of modesty of the Chinese
culture. The reason may be due to their lack of linguistic skills and
sociolinguistic knowledge of compliments and compliment responses.
Thus, it is necessary for EFL teachers to provide information on the
appropriate ways of responding to different types of compliments under
the conversational principles of agreeing with the complimentee, and
at the same time, avoiding self-praise.
第十四屆中華民國英語文教學國際研討會論文集=Proceedings of the Fourteenth International Symposium on English Teaching，頁435-442