“IS That What You Mean?” Exploratory Study of Syntactic Pattern in Complement Responses

Document Type : Research Article


1 SAMA Technical and Vocational Training College, Islamic Azad University, Ahvaz Branch, Ahvaz, Iran

2 Academic Center of Education, Culture and Research (ACECR)

3 Baghmalek Branch, Islamic Azad University, Baghmalek, Iran


Complimenting behavior, as a common speech act of human beings, has become an intriguing topic in linguistics and its sub-branches. Compliment responses can be seen as solutions for maintaining a balance between (1) a preference to avoid self-praise and (2) a preference to accept or agree with the compliment (Pomerantz 1978). In the present study, the definition of a compliment draws on the work of Holmes (1988).The present study explored compliment responses in of 454  Iranian university students according to the Manes & Wolfson’s (1981) study that demonstrated compliments are highly Formulaic. Therefore the main concern in this study was to determine the basic syntactic forms and categories that carry the compliment’s positive evaluation in Farsi. The Collected data were analyzed according to the syntactic patterns and topics of the compliments in relation to the sex of the participants.