2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Complimentary Gossip: Sex-Based Differences in Compliment Behavior When the Recipient is Absent
Sofia Kerbawy
Dr. Mary Shapiro, Faculty Mentor

This paper examines sex-based differences for compliments given when the recipient of the compliment was absent. The compliments are from transcripts of real-life conversations in the MICASE database. The data indicate that both men and women prefer not to use first person involvement. Personality and skill are the most frequent topics of compliments given by both genders. Women are significantly more likely to receive a compliment containing an intensified form. Men use a greater variety of intensifiers than women. Both sexes are significantly more likely to give a compliment to a member of the same sex than to a member of the opposite sex. The results show that men's compliment behavior to an absent recipient differs greatly from previous research on men's compliment behavior towards recipients who are present.

Keywords: linguistics, sex, compliments, gossip

Topic(s):English

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 7-5
Location: VH 1304
Time: 9:15

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