The concept of complimenting in light of the Moore language in Burkina Faso

  • Mahamadou Sawadogo
  • Pragmatics Quarterly Publication of the International Pragmatics Association (IPrA), February 2018, John Benjamins
  • DOI: 10.1075/prag.00005.saw

What the Moore language in Burkina Faso reveals about complimenting.

What is it about?

Reflection on naturally occurring compliments in the Moore language has lead me to revisit the concept of complimenting as a whole. It appears that the classical definition of complimenting used so far in most studies focuses on only 25% of the potential compliment types mainly as a result of excluding third person. Moreover, complimenting appears to be intrinsically linked to some more general speech act within which it can best be studied.

Why is it important?

I provide new insight into the concept of complimenting with a revised definition that could help to better apprehend complimenting across languages and cultures. I have included present or absent third person as a potential complimentee, which, incidentally, has implications for the notions of face and politeness strategies. My suggestions may have the potential of fostering investigation into the universals of complimenting and similar speech acts as well.


Mahamadou Sawadogo
Universite de Ouagadougou

I hope this paper is a real contribution to the study of complimenting. I also hope to find ways and means and collaboration for more systematic investigation into this speech act and other related or similar ones.

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