Compliment Response Behaviour on Facebook: A Study with Iranian Facebook Users

in International Review of Pragmatics
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Although the literature on compliments and compliment responses is abundant, very few studies have examined complimenting behaviour and the influence of gender on complimenting behaviour in Persian language. More scarce is the number of studies that investigated speech act behaviour of Persian speakers in cyberspace in general and in social networking sites such as Facebook in particular. This research on Iranian Facebook (FB) users’ complimenting response behaviour was carried out in order to broaden the scope of studies in pragmatics to include non-Western languages and to extend the scope of speech act studies to cyberspace. The study probed into Iranian FB users’ compliment response behaviour in same-gender and cross-gender interactions. The current research also sought to explore the extent to which compliment response behaviour on Facebook resembles its counterpart in face-to-face interactions. The findings revealed that online medium of communication and technological affordances on Facebook have brought new norms of communication into existence. The findings also suggested that some emerging sociocultural factors such as cyber-feminism might have impacted the participants’ preferences for more egalitarian patterns of language use when responding to compliments from an opposite gender. More importantly, the findings showed how marginalized groups such as women in Iran benefit from virtual spaces such as FB to assert a linguistic identity of self that is not easily possible to share publically in real life settings.



  • Figure 1

    A Female profile picture on Facebook with compliments. CRs transliteration: F1: “My dear and beautiful sister.” F2: “Very beautiful!” F3: “My darling …. What a beautiful picture it is …! Run and come to my arms.”

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  • Figure 2

    Compliment response system on Facebook

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  • Figure 3

    A male profile picture on Facebook with compliments. CRs transliteration: M1: Body (It refers to the profile owner’s body that is athletic.) M2: … your liver … (That is a slang expression that shows strong endearment.) F: … Wow, what an artistic and beautiful picture

    View in gallery


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