Compliments and politeness among Mexican and Puerto Rican couples.




Carruth, Melissa D.

Access rights

Worldwide access.
Access changed 6/26/13.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This paper explores the speech act of complimenting among Mexican and Puerto Rican couples. The study applies Brown and Levinson’s Politeness Theory (1987) in analyzing spontaneous, face-to-face compliment giving between each romantic couple of the same nationality, that is, Mexican or Puerto Rican. Following Holmes (1986), it examines compliments according to their form, function, and topic. Results are compared with previous studies in the field. The results show that dialect, education level and gender of the speaker influence the style and delivery of compliments. In addition, the results show that both Mexican and Puerto Rican females in this data set initiated compliments and gave more compliments than the male Mexican and Puerto Rican participants. Mexican males spoke the least and gave fewer compliments. Puerto Rican males spoke more than any other group and gave the most compliments. Underlying values and explanations for these results are discussed.



Politeness studies., Brown and Levinson's Politenss Theory., Speech act., Compliments., Couples., Gender., Spanish dialects., Mexicans., Puerto Ricans.