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Speech act research between armchair, field and laboratory: The case of compliments


Jucker, Andreas H (2009). Speech act research between armchair, field and laboratory: The case of compliments. Journal of Pragmatics, 41(8):1611-1635.

Abstract

In this paper I discuss pragmatic research methods and their suitability to different research questions in speech act research. Clark and Bangerter [Clark, H.H., Bangerter, A., 2004. Changing ideas about reference. In: Noveck, I.A., Sperber, D. (Eds.), Experimental Pragmatics (Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition). Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, pp. 25–49] use the terms "armchair", "field" and "laboratory" to refer to linguistic methods based on intuited data, natural data and elicited data, respectively.
In this paper I will not argue for the superiority of one of these methods over the other two. I take the view that it depends on the specific research question whether one or the other of these three approaches can yield useful insights. I will illustrate these considerations with
research efforts in the field of compliment research. Compliments are particularly interesting because they pose a politeness dilemma for the recipient, who either has to violate the maxim of agreement or the maxim of modesty. They have been investigated from very different perspectives (pattern of the compliment, the demographics of the complimenter and the compliment recipient, compliment
responses and so on) and with a range of different methods (including the notebook method, the corpus method and discourse completion tests). I will review this literature and discuss the suitability of individual methods in relation to individual research questions.

In this paper I discuss pragmatic research methods and their suitability to different research questions in speech act research. Clark and Bangerter [Clark, H.H., Bangerter, A., 2004. Changing ideas about reference. In: Noveck, I.A., Sperber, D. (Eds.), Experimental Pragmatics (Palgrave Studies in Pragmatics, Language and Cognition). Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, pp. 25–49] use the terms "armchair", "field" and "laboratory" to refer to linguistic methods based on intuited data, natural data and elicited data, respectively.
In this paper I will not argue for the superiority of one of these methods over the other two. I take the view that it depends on the specific research question whether one or the other of these three approaches can yield useful insights. I will illustrate these considerations with
research efforts in the field of compliment research. Compliments are particularly interesting because they pose a politeness dilemma for the recipient, who either has to violate the maxim of agreement or the maxim of modesty. They have been investigated from very different perspectives (pattern of the compliment, the demographics of the complimenter and the compliment recipient, compliment
responses and so on) and with a range of different methods (including the notebook method, the corpus method and discourse completion tests). I will review this literature and discuss the suitability of individual methods in relation to individual research questions.

Citations

17 citations in Web of Science®
28 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Uncontrolled Keywords:Speech acts; Research methods; Compliments; Politeness
Date:August 2009
Deposited On:12 Jun 2009 12:28
Last Modified:09 May 2016 03:05
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0378-2166
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.pragma.2009.02.004
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-19028

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