The Comparative Study on Compliment Responses Between Indonesian EFL Students and English Native Speakers


While Western people use more acceptance continuum on compliment response, Indonesians utter more denial continuum which can somehow put the speakers into a face-threatening situation. This study investigated compliment responses employed by EFL students and English native speakers. Two research questions were set: 1) How do Indonesian EFL students and English native speakers respond to compliments, and 2) Is there any correlation between Indonesia EFL students' proficiency and their compliment response use in English? The study involved three groups of participants: twelve English native speakers, twelve high-proficiency, and twelve low-proficiency Indonesian EFL university students. The research instruments used in this study were an online grammar test and a set of ten discourse completion tasks. Participants' responses were coded and analysed using Tran's compliment response framework. The study found that native speakers applied more compliment upgrades and appreciation tokens in compliment response, whereas, Indonesian EFL students combined some compliment response strategies in their utterances, such as appreciation token, return and compliment downgrade. There is a correlation between students' proficiency level and their CR responds as most high-proficiency EFL students produced utterance more varied and were more similar to those employed by native speakers than that used by low-proficiency students. The combination strategies used by EFL students are explained as lack of L2 knowledge and the influence of pragmatic transfer from L1 to L2. Therefore, EFL teachers should explicitly teach more compliment response strategies to raise students' awareness on English culture and elaborate their speaking to be more competence as close to native speakers as possible.

Author Information
Maria Seran, Macquarie University, Australia

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2018
Stream: Teaching Experiences, Pedagogy, Practice & Praxis

This paper is part of the ACE2018 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon