English proficiency and topic effect in compliment response behaviors by Chinese EFL learners: transfer effect revisited


Shu-hui Eileen Chen


National Taipei University of Education, Taiwan


Shu-Chu Chen


National Yunlin University of Science and Technology, National Cheng-Chi University, Taiwan


This study investigated the effects of English proficiency and topic on compliment response by Taiwanese EFL learners in Taiwan, and to explore potential transfer patterns by using DCT (Discourse Completion Test) questionnaire. Subjects consisted of four groups: 20 Chinese native speakers, 20 English native speakers, 20 Chinese EFL learners with higher English proficiency, and 20 Chinese EFL learners with lower English proficiency. The results showed that: (1) there was significant difference in English Compliment strategies between Chinese EFL learners with higher proficiency and native English speakers, as well as between native English speakers and native Chinese speakers in Taiwan, but no significant difference was found between Chinese EFL learners with lower proficiency and native English speakers; (2) English proficiency influences Compliment strategy; (3) topic affects English compliment response strategies to a great extent. Chinese EFL learners and native English speakers adjusted their compliment response strategies in different situations. The perceptions of the social variables bear similarities and differences between Chinese EFL learners and native English speakers; (4) different transfer patterns other than position and negative transfer were found in the selection of English compliment response. There were interlanguage variations in English compliment response strategies in Chinese EFL learners.


compliment response; proficiency; transfer

Publication Date

March 15, 2007


Volume 1, Issue 1

Citation information

Chen, Shu-hui Eileen, and Shu-Chu Chen. 2007. “English proficiency and topic effect in compliment response behaviors by Chinese EFL learners: transfer effect revisited.” Language. Text. Society 1 (1): e27-e42. https://ltsj.online/2007-01-1-chen-chen-02. (Journal title at the time of publication: SamaraAltLinguo E-Journal.)


author = {Chen, Shu-hui Eileen and Chen, Shu-Chu},
title = {{English proficiency and topic effect in compliment response behaviors by Chinese EFL learners: transfer effect revisited}},
journal = {Language. Text. Society},
year = {2007},
volume = {1},
number = {1},
pages = {27–42},
url = {https://ltsj.online/2007-01-1-chen-chen-02/},


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