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Factors Affecting the Development of Compliment Responses by Taiwanese Mandarin-Speaking Children
The present study investigated the development of compliment responses by Mandarin-speaking children who were given a comprehension task and a production task. A total of 144 students participated in this study, including five-year-olds, six-year-olds, seven-year-olds, eight-year-olds, nine-year-olds, and undergraduates, with 24 subjects (12 males and 12 females) in each age group. The results showed that there were no significant differences in the subjects’ perception of compliments concerning gender, status, or specific topics. However, the effect of the complimenter’s gender and status can be seen in the production data, and it was found that the subjects gave more responses to compliments dealing with concrete concepts. Moreover, it was found that the responses from children as young as five years old already showed the influence of the gender and status of the complimenter as well as of the topic of the compliment. However, the subjects’ changing use of compliment response strategies was found to be directly related to their ongoing development. Before the age of eight, our children mainly used the strategy of Direct Acceptance, while after eight they started to use the strategy of Indirect Acceptance more frequently to avoid praising themselves.
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