Investigating Responses to Compliments by Brazilian Portuguese Speaking EFL Learners: A Contrastive Analysis

Marisa de Lima Zanella


This paper reports a study on politeness strategies of Brazilian Portuguese speakers and American English speakers regarding their responses to compliments. The aim of this research is to gain an insight into the politeness characteristics of Brazilian Portuguese speakers by analyzing how Brazilian students react when receiving compliments. It also aims to investigate how politeness from Brazilian Portuguese speakers differs from politeness of American English speakers when receiving compliments. The population for this research consists of 12 students with intermediate and upper-intermediate levels of EFL from the Cooperative de Trabalho Magna, a private school in Brazil. The study followed a descriptive and interpretive qualitative research method, where 133 answers were analyzed and then contrasted with Chen’s (1993) study of politeness strategies between American English and Chinese speakers. This study shows that, unlike American English speakers, Brazilian Portuguese speakers need to justify and give reasons for the compliment received.



Brazilian Politeness, Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory, receiving compliments

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