Face-saving Strategies in Responding to Gratitude Expressions: Evidence from Canadian English

Bernard Mulo Farenkia

Abstract


This study examines (politeness) strategies employed by a group of English-speaking Canadian University students when responding to gratitude expressions. Based on data collected by means of a Discourse Completion Task (DCT) questionnaire, the quantitative and qualitative study addresses functional, formal and situational aspects of responses to thanks. With regard to speakers’ strategies, the study reveals that the participants mostly preferred “minimizing the favour” and “expressing appreciation” in their responses. This finding suggests that native speakers of Canadian English seem to make the same choice as speakers of Irish English, American English and British English. In terms of the realization forms of responses to thanks, the results indicate that the participants mostly employed constructions with no problem, welcome and pleasure. With regard to the length of responses, it was found that the informants favoured simple responses to thanks much more often than complex responses. Also, social and power distance was found to play a role in the choice of the semantic strategies and the realization forms as well as in the move-structure and the length of the responses.

Full Text: PDF DOI: 10.5539/ijel.v2n4p1

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)

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