Are people in the habit of complimenting others very often? And, if so, are they sincere in their comments? How can we play a part in increasing the number of compliments given?
A compliment can be an expression of praise, a commendation, or an expression of admiration. A simple word or gesture can elicit a smile, transform someone’s mood, and turn a bad day into a good one. In the French court of King Louis XIV a compliment was an integral part of the ceremony of the court; a person's public image depended on his ability to give compliments. And, as the author Mark Twain once said, “They saythat you cannot live on bread alone, but I can live on compliments (taken from Clemens’ talk “Compliments and Degrees” given at the Lotos Club in 1908). And today?
A compliment can be used for any variety of reasons: a desire to please or find favor in someone’s eyes, a wish to communicate sincere friendship and appreciation, as a gesture of sincere kindness, or possibly even in an attempt at tricky or flattery.
While many of us might be wary of this speech genre*,it is nonetheless true that people everywhere desire to be appreciated. Throughout history, compliments have played an important part in good relationships.
For this project we are going to investigate compliment usage in everyday communication.
What part does language play in the giving and receiving of compliments? Which forms of compliments are most popular today? And how do we include this speech genre in our everyday communication toolkit? Together we will answer these questions.
In order to successfully do this you will need to be attentive and keep your ears open for any compliments you hear!
Join our investigation and let’s see whether we can promote this speech genre in our society; let's help compliments become a much used part of speech!
*By speech genre we mean situations that are expressed in our speech and are defined by recognizable rules and boundaries. In addition to compliments, other examples include requests, jokes, invitations, greetings, proposals, etc.Do not confuse speech genres with those of literature and folklore!