IJLLL 2017 Vol.3(1): 23-26 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2017.3.1.104

Compliments and Identity Construction in East-West Intercultural EFL Communication

Hiroko Itakura
Abstract—This paper explores identity construction in the hitherto little-researched context of intercultural communication between speakers of English as a foreign language (EFL) in a study-abroad context. In a case study of naturalistic conversations between a Chinese male and a Swedish male, the paper examines how compliments were used similarly or differently between two speakers. The findings suggest that different frequencies and functions of compliments between the two speakers construct multiple identities differently for them in terms of gender, ethnicity, and host-guest relationships. The paper discusses what EFL speakers should be aware of to use compliments and related features as part of the pragmatic competence that will enable their participation in intercultural communication by constructing their preferred identities.

Index Terms—Compliments, EFL, intercultural communication, politeness, self-denigration.

Hiroko Itakura is with the Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong (e-mail: Hiroko@hkbu.edu.hk).

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Cite:Hiroko Itakura, "Compliments and Identity Construction in East-West Intercultural EFL Communication," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 23-26, 2017.

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