The present study takes a corpus-based approach to investigate the speech act of thanking. Two well-known spoken corpora MICASE and BNC (the spoken part) were used for quantitative and qualitative analysis. Six major categories were identified: (a) thanking, (b) appreciation, (c) non-gratitude, (d) combinations, (e) thanking a 3(superscript rd) person, and (f) formal speech. The results of the study indicate that the thanking strategy constituted the majority of the coded expressions; nevertheless, the second most frequent strategy is the non-gratitude strategy, which performs the illocutionary functions of relief, rejection of an offer, politeness, greetings, and conversation endings. Results also revealed that thank you is much more frequently used than thanks. In addition, data from MICASE show more varieties of strategies than BNC, particularly the more formal strategies such as appreciation, thanking a 3(superscript rd) person, and formal speech whereas BNC contains much more instances of the non-gratitude strategy than MICASE, reflecting register differences of the two corpora. In sum, the wide variety of thanking strategies, the numerous formulaic linguistic realizations, and the expected appropriate responses when being thanked, as shown from the corpora, suggest potential problems the speech act of thanking poses for second language learners.
|Original language||Chinese (Traditional)|
|Pages (from-to)||257 - 274|
|Journal||同心圓：語言學研究(Concentric: Studies in Linguistics)|
|State||Published - Jul 2010|