The Influences of Culture on Complimenting Strategies Employed By English-Major Students In Vietnam

Author: Yen Tran (Thai Nguyen University)
Speaker: Yen Tran
Topic: Language pedagogies
The (SCOPUS / ISI) SOAS GLOCAL CALA 2019 General Session


The speech act of complimenting has been a widely used practice in social diplomacy. People from a large range of cultures, that is, within respective cultural clusters, share communicative purpose in complimenting each other; however, they tend to use different patterns and strategies and compliment different attributes. At times when people compliment each other in a foreign language, the intended purpose may not be achieved, but the reverse may occur.
To effect progress in this study, data were collected from 30 Vietnamese native speakers, 30 American English native speakers, and 30 English-major university students of diverse backgrounds. This study aims to locate preferred strategies employed by English-major students when complimenting in English, and aims to identify the interferences from Vietnamese culture to students’ choice of strategies.

The result of the research indicates that American students, Vietnamese non-English major students, and English-major students, shared all complimenting strategies: these include speaker-oriented, hearer-oriented, and topic-oriented strategies; however, the frequency of each complimenting strategy becomes predicated on student status, gender, compliment topic and cultural background. The English-major students indicate influence by both their respective Vietnamese and American cultures.

Keywords: speech act, compliment, complimenting strategy, culture