Patterns of Thanking in Asian Englishes: A Local Grammar Based Investigation

30 May 2024
Room G1

Patterns of Thanking in Asian Englishes: A Local Grammar Based Investigation

Adopting the local grammar approach, this study examines the speech act of thanking in the four varieties of English, with a view to exploring the value of local grammars in cross-varieties speech act studies and also contribute to an understanding of how social-cultural norms influence the speech act performance, thus facilitating the reveal of the association among the language use, politeness and cultural norms in different English varieties. Speech act studies have been broadly investigated cross-culturally in different languages (Leyre & Yolanda, 2012), but how speech acts are performed in varieties of one language still needs more systematic research. The data are extracted from the British, Hong Kong, Indian and Singapore components of the International Corpus of English. Previous studies have adequately explored the effectiveness of local grammars in quantifying speech act realisations and provide new sights into intercultural speech acts studies (Su & Lu, 2023). With the help of local grammar approach and Chi-square analyses, the present investigation reveals that speakers of English varieties might be blurring the lines between the cultural norms of politeness in their locally prevalent culture and international-oriented ones, attempting to keep a balance in the tensions driven by the two forces. The preferential choices that define speakers’ conversational style reflect cultural values they belong to (Mullan & Béal, 2022). In addition, the study shows that there is a regional difference in expressions of gratitude between South Asian Englishes (IndE) and Southeast Asian Englishes (HKE & SinE). Overall, findings of the study suggest that thanking in varieties of English somewhat reflects different communicative ethos, as speakers’ perception of politeness varies in their community of practice. On the other hand, local grammar approach is worthwhile to cross-varieties speech act studies, and therefore more research applying local grammars into speech acts in different English varieties is desirable and valuable.



Mullan, K., & Béal, C. (2022). Humor in intercultural interactions. In The Cambridge Handbook of Intercultural Pragmatics (pp. 301-333). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ruiz de Zarobe, L., & Ruiz de Zarobe, Y. (2012). Speech Acts and Politeness across Languages and Cultures. Lausanne, Switzerland: Peter Lang Verlag.

Su, H. & Lu, X. (2023). Local grammars and intercultural speech act studies: A study of apologies in four English varieties. Intercultural Pragmatics20(4), 377-404.