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Talk by Susanne Strubel-Burgdorf

"Your shirt and beads are most becoming" or "These are such awesome cups" –  Positive evaluations and compliments of three elderly ladies and some college girls

Would you say something nice to another person? Would you give a compliment? How would you tell somebody that you like what they're wearing? Would your parents or grandparents say it just the same way as you do?

Compliments, and how people say something nice to their hearers, have been a very attractive topic for researchers in various fields of linguistics in the past thirty years. A large number of studies has been published on gender and cultural differences or on how learners of English should acquire pragmatic competence to skillfully address the positive face of English speakers.

This presentation takes a look at two conversations taken from the Santa Barbara corpus of Spoken English: In one conversation, three elderly ladies sit together and discuss retirement, a broken chair, food and colorful clothes. In the other conversation, four college girls get together and chat about self-made bread, the kitchen inventory, a family dinner and their plans for the night.

Comparing how these two different groups utter positive assessments and compliments provides a case study for the variable age that has been neglected so far in compliment research.


"Positive evaluations and compliments of three elderly ladies and some college girls" - talk by BAEL team member Susanne Strubel-Burgdorf


Monday June 27, 2011, from 2 to 4pm


Seminar room D - Englisches Seminar, Regina-Pacis-Weg 5

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