Topic 7. Giving and Receiving Compliments

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Topic 7. Giving and Receiving Compliments


Tips to keep in mind:

English female bonding-talk often starts with a ritual exchange of compliments. The compliments are not exchanged at random, but in a distinctive pattern, which can be called the counter-compliment rule: the opening line may be either a straight compliment or a combination of a compliment and a self-critical remark: Your hair looks great; I wish I had gorgeous hair like you – mine is so boring and mousy. The counter-compliment rule requires that the response to either version contain a self-deprecating denial, and a counter-compliment, as Oh, no! My hair is terrible. It gets so frizzy – I wish I could have it short like you, but I just don’t have the bone structure; you’ve got such good cheekbones. The conversation may jump from hair to shoes to thighs to professional achievement, fitness, social skills, dating success, children and accomplishments – but the formula remains the same. No compliment is ever accepted; no self-denigrating remark ever goes unchallenged. Research revealed, that when asked how they would feel about someone who just accepted a compliment and didn’t offer one in return, the English women admitted they’d regard the person as impolite, unfriendly and arrogant – it’s almost as bad as boasting. One woman replied Well, you’d know she wasn’t English.

                                                                                                    K. Fox. Watching the English

В ответ на комплимент в Штатах принято говорить Thank you. Общаясь с людьми, здесь нет необходимости преуменьшать ценность или качество того, что хвалит ваш собеседник. Реагируя на похвалу, русская женщина может сказать Ну что вы, эта кофточка совсем старая или А по-моему, эта прическа мне совсем не идет. Американки отнесутся к похвале иначе Thank you, I bought this blouse in Paris или Thanks, I am trying a new hairdresser. Лжескромность в Америке не принята. Преуменьшая комплимент, человек как бы бросает тень на хороший эстетический вкус того, кто этот комплимент сделал.

                                                             Линн Виссон. Русские проблемы в английской речи

Practicum 7.1

Compare the British and American complimenting practices; relate them to your cultural practices

Another tip to keep in mind:

English men have different means of achieving social bonding. While English women are busy paying each other complшments, English men are usually putting each other down, in a competitive ritual that can be called the Mine’s Better Than Yours game. The rules of the macho etiquette are as follows. You start by making a statement in praise of your chosen Mine (electric razors, Manchester United, German cars, whatever). Your statement will always be countered or challenged, even if the other males secretly agree with you.

Even without subscribing to the genderlect theories, it’s clear that male bonding talk often tends to be competitive, while female bonding typically involves more matching and cooperation.

                                                                                                       K. Fox. Watching the English

Practicum 7.2

Compare females’ and males’ attitudes to complimenting, relate them to your cultural practices

Practicum 7.3

Study the communication strategy of Giving / Receiving Compliments

Step 1 Try to find what in your counterpart appeals to you
Step 2 Word a compliment maintaining an eye contact with the person
Step 3 To receive a compliment, use a you-are-very-kind formula

Practicum 7.4

Arrange the Giving / Receiving Compliments vocabulary in 2 groups relating to 2 steps of communication strategy (some stock phrases can refer to more than one step) , e.g.

Step 2 Step 3
I like the lipstick you are wearing today It is so kind / sweet of you

You look wonderful / fabulous / fantastic / superb / gorgeous today

What a nice colour / haircut / cut / bag / scarf

I’d like to congratulate you on / praise / applaud your presentation / talk

It is so stimulating / motivating / forward-looking / thought-provoking

It’s a breakthrough

The book is inspiring / fascinating / It is an inspiration

I mean it

I like the scent you are wearing today

Oh, thank you, it’s my favorite perfume

It suits you perfectly / it’s the latest fashion, so trendy; Where is it from?

Oh, thank you, would you believe it’s Zara?!

Practicum 7.5

Practice Giving / Receiving Compliments strategy in the following settings

Compliment a person on

- the corporate dinner and good choice of wines

- the house-warming party of your colleague

- the report of your colleague at a conference (ideas and perfect articulation of the speaker)

- the corporate New Year party and the entertainment offered

Text 7a

The text to follow deals in talking mentality. Study the text to use its main points for further communication in semi-formal setting

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