Baltic accent

2018 Vol. 9 №3

Back to the list Download an article

Age-related characteristics of English, American, and Russian compliments



In this article, I identify and analyse the linguistic features of the generation and perception of compliments by people of different age identities from English, American and Russian cultures. Language is not the same across different age groups, which necessitates a thorough examination of age-related parameters in language and the identification of semiotic markers of age identity. The promising area of linguistic research — social semiotics — lends an urgency to such a study. To achieve the goal of the research, I employ the methods of contextual analysis and semantic and pragmatic interpretation. The qualitative calculations ensure the relevance of the study, which takes into account the intentional and stylistic features of compliments and reactions to compliments. The need to study these aspects is explained by the orientation of compliments towards effective communication. A typology of intentions and reactions shows that cultural differences between representatives of the English, American, and Russian national identities are clearly manifested in language. As to intentions, people with a mature English identity gravitate towards politeness, those with mature American identity towards praise, and those with mature Russian identity towards praise and flattery. An analysis of linguistic material demonstrates that compliments made by people with a mature age identity differ from those made by younger persons. Younger people are more prone to make compliments in informal communication than persons with mature age identity are. Compliments made by members of each age group have certain specific features. The findings of the study can be employed in the Stylistics and Pragmalinguistics courses, which is the practical outcome of the research.


Vakhtin, N.V., Golovko, E.V., 2004. Sotsiolingvistika i sotsiologiya yazyka. Gender. Yazyk i vozrast [Sociolinguistics and sociology of language. Gender. Language and age]. Available at: [Accessed 3 September 2014].
Erofeev, V.V., 1990. Russkaya krasavitsa [The Russian Beauty]. Available at: [Accessed 3 September 2014].
Kononov, N., 2004. Nezhnyi teatr [Gentle Theater]. Moscow (in Russ.).
Kunin, V., 2000. Mika i Al'fred [Mika and Alfred]. St. Petersburg (in Russ.).
Kunin, V. Rebro Adama [The Edge of Adam]. Available at: http://lib.misto. [Accessed 21 November 2013].
Kurakina, N.A., 2017. Dialective features of pragmatic completions of representatives of english urbanist identity. In: Dinamika vzaimootnoshenii razlichnykh oblastey nauki sovremennykh usloviyakh. Sbornik trudov konferentsii [Dynamics of relationships of various sciences of science in modern conditions. Conference proceedings]. Ufa, 13 November 2017, pp. 144-147 (in Russ.).
Kurakina, N.A., 2016. Pragmaticheskii aspekt komplimentarnykh vyskazyvanii (na materiale anglo-amerikanskoi khudozhestvennoi literatury) [A pragmatic aspect of complimentary statements (on the material of Anglo-American fiction)]. Ph.D. Kaliningrad (in Russ.).
Leontovich, O.A., 2013. Russkie i amerikantsy: paradoksy mezhkul'turnogo obshcheniya [Russian and Americans: the paradoxes of intercultural communication]. Available at: [Accessed 3 September 2014].
Miklyaeva, A.V., Rumyantseva, P.V., 2008. Sotsial'naya identichnost' lichnosti: soderzhanie, struktura, mekhanizmy formirovaniya [Social identity of the person: content, structure, formation mechanisms]. Available at: [Accessed 10 October 2015].
Pelevin, V., 2011. Ananasnaya voda dlya prekrasnoi damy [Pineapple water for a beautiful lady]. Available at: Accessed 10 October 2015].
Barnes, J., 2005. Arthur and George. Available at: [Accessed 5 September 2015].
Foer, J.S., 2002. Everything is illuminated. NY: Houghton Mifflin Company. Available at: Jonathan_
Safran_Foer:Everything_is_%20illuminated.pdf [Accessed 5 September 2015].
Jardine, Q., 1994. Skinner’s Trail. London: Headline Book Publishing.
Moyes, J., 2012. Me before you. Available at: [Accessed 8 September 2015].
Steel, D., 2005. Toxic bachelors. Available at: [Accessed 21 September 2015].
Yates, R., 1961. Revolutionary Road. Available at: [Accessed 23 September 2015].