International Journal of Applied Linguistics

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Volume 5 Issue 1 (June 1995), Pages 3-150

“This is not an empty compliment!” Polish compliments and the expression of solidarity (pages 63-94)

The most commonly recognized function of American English compliments and compliment responses is the expression and maintenance of solidarity between interlocutors. An analysis of Polish compliments and compliment responses collected in natural settings leads to the adoption of a distinction between procedural and relational solidarity. It is argued that many Polish compliments which are used in a manipulative or instrumental way are only procedurally solidary but not relationally solidary. Poles do not insist on establishing solidarity with each other by relying on formulaic speech patterns to the same degree that Americans do. Instead, they prefer other ways of maintaining (relational) solidarity, e.g. exchange of goods, services and information. Such exchanges may be, in part, triggered by the use of compliments.

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