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Title: Jordanian-Australians' Perceptions and Practices of Compliments
Contributor(s): Abu-Rabie, Malek (author); Ndhlovu, Finex  (supervisor)orcid ; Waters, Sophia  (supervisor)orcid 
Conferred Date: 2019-09-26
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This study investigated perceptions and practices of compliments among twenty male Jordanian-Australians who have lived in Australia for a minimum of five years. Jordanian-Australians refer to Australians of Jordanian ancestry or Jordan-born individuals who live in Australia. The study focused on how compliments are given and received in social intercultural settings in both Arabic and English. The study also examined how languages, cultures and associated metadiscourse practices, which existed in these participants, influenced their perceptions and practices of compliments. Furthermore, the research explored male Jordanian-Australians’ choice and use of compliment topics, syntactic structures, positive semantic carriers in compliments and compliment response strategies. The goal was to understand their intercultural attitudes, knowledge, skills of interpreting and relating, skills of discovery and interaction, and critical cultural awareness.
The study adopted an intercultural approach and targeted male Jordanian-Australians as its units of analysis. The theoretical framework for this study was built around Byram’s (1997) theory of intercultural communicative competence. The theory consists of five elements (intercultural attitudes, knowledge, skills of interpreting and relating, skills of discovery and interaction, and critical cultural awareness), which were applied individually to test the hypotheses and suppositions of this study. Ethnographic methods that included semi-structured interviews and participant observation were used to collect rich sociolinguistic data. The study used thematic techniques of analysis to read and interpret the meanings of the data.
The study revealed that intercultural differences affect individuals’ choice of strategies, topics and language. It also showed that the cultural specificity of complimenting as a social act is influenced by values such as politeness and sincerity. Furthermore, the study discovered the cultural dilemma participants face when complimenting in another language while simultaneously trying to retain their Jordanian cultural identity. Moreover, it highlighted the importance of explicit teaching of discourse functions, complimenting and intercultural awareness in migrant English language classrooms in order to develop intercultural communicative competence of students, migrants and refugees in Australia. In addition, the current study revealed intercultural gaps and opens doors for other research on complimenting, intercultural pragmatics and intercultural communication.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research (FoR) 2008: 200401 Applied Linguistics and Educational Linguistics
200403 Discourse and Pragmatics
200405 Language in Culture and Society (Sociolinguistics)
Field of Research (FoR) 2020: 470401 Applied linguistics and educational linguistics
470405 Discourse and pragmatics
470411 Sociolinguistics
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 950201 Communication Across Languages and Culture
970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
Appears in Collections:School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Thesis Doctoral

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