Speech act of gratitude as a speech ritual in modern English

Theoretical aspects of gratitude act and dialogic discourse. Modern English speech features. Practical aspects of gratitude expressions use. Analysis of thank you expression and responses to it in the sentences, selected from the fiction literature.

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In addition, the no-response type occurs in ritualized greetings and compliments:

(20) a. Context: Greeting between friends on the street.

John: How are you doing? Betty: Fine, how about you?

John: Fine, thanks. Betty: No response (She has gone).

b. Context: Joe shows Mary a car he recently bought.

Mary: It's very nice car.

Joe: Thank you.

Mary: No response.

In my data, thank you expressions for ritualized greetings such as "How are you?", "Good luck!", "Enjoy your dinner!", get-well greetings (e.g. "I hope you will get better soon."), etc. do not receive a response. Interestingly, thank you expressions right after leave-taking do not receive a response:

(21) Context: In a restaurant Cashier: Here's your change and receipt. Have a nice evening. Customer: Thank you. [37]

Cashier: No response. The cashier does not give a response probably because he may consider the thanking which the customer expressed as a leave taking and thus he thought that his ritualized leave-taking was already done. The last category which does not receive a response is the thank you expression used in conversational opening, stopping, and closing, mentioned in a previous section. This is often seen in formal situations such as formal addresses, conferences, etc. This shows that a thank you expression in a one-to-many relationship usually does not receive a response. This is further demonstrated in the interview situation on T.V. In one-to-one interviews, the interviewee gave reciprocal thanks, whereas in one-to-many interviews, the interviewees did not give a response. Unlike the responses of non-verbal gestures connected with conversational continuity, which is thanker-oriented, the no response in the hurrying situation, worry situation, or ritualized behavior such as compliments and greetings is responder-oriented.

It is so hard to thank someone who has really helped you but here are some hints on how to thank someone properly.

1. Swallow your pride. You may be less inclined to thank somebody if you feel as if you deserved whatever they did for you. On the other hand, do you remember being thanked for something that you considered to be routine? It creates satisfaction for the giver of an item or reaction that you are openly admitting that you appreciate their efforts and time.

2. Don't overdo it. Telling somebody thank you for every little thing will lessen the impact of a genuine show of appreciation. Just like, "I love you," use it sparingly, intensely, and not passively or cordially. Getting a person's eye contact is a small gesture to ensure appreciation and truth in giving your thanks.

3. Don't forget. Put yourself in the position of the person who has done the thing worth receiving thanks for. Several times per day, somebody is doing something for you, if it's their job or duty, or just a gift of time and attention, it's something for you. Always remember that. For example, finish your emails with "Thank you for your time and attention" because you genuinely appreciate the fact that somebody has taken the time to read your email and perhaps honor a request or acknowledge some information.

4. Put it in writing. If someone has given you a gift or invited you into their home, take the time out afterward to write a simple thank-you note and send it by old-fashioned snail mail.

5. Change your wording. Try phrases such as, "I appreciate that," "That was nice of you/kind of you," and "I owe you one," preceding "Thank you" or "Thanks."

6. Be specific. Tell the person how they did or what they gave you will make your life more fulfilling. For example, if someone gave you a digital camera, in addition to saying "thank you," say: "This will be perfect for taking pictures of our new baby. I've been dying to send pictures to our friends by e-mail, and now I finally can."

7. Just give them a nice little present and attach a thank you note!

Even when you miss an opportunity to thank someone, feel the respect for what that person or those people did for you. Get into the habit of appreciating other people doing things for you.

Do not shower them with praise. Rather than feeling appreciated they many feel entitled for something in return, or maybe even insulted.

Ask a close friend or family member to tell you the last time somebody thanked them for something, and remember what that means the next time you're out of the house.

If someone is nice to you, give him or her a kiss.

Part 2. Practical aspects of gratitude expressions use

2.1 Gratitude act in Modern English

Gratitude is a tool for establishing friendship that creates ties of solidarity. It also is an important social strategy in that it functions as an opener for a conversation and allows meaningful social interaction to follow. Neglecting to give compliments may even be understood as a sign of disapproval, and the inappropriate use of compliments may cause embarrassment and even offense.

Gratitude is a very interesting phenomenon. As an act of expressing one's appreciation, a compliment reveals what is treasured in the speaker's culture. A number of studies of compliments have been done. Many of these studies use data from different varieties of English: British English, American English, New Zealand English, Hawaii Creole English.

Gratitude is closely connected with compliments constitute one type of everyday conversational device that occur in interpersonal relationships. J. Holmes defined a compliment as “speech act which explicitly or implicitly attributes credit to someone other than the speakers, usually the person addressed, for some “good” (possession, characteristic, skill, etc.) which is positively valued by the speaker and the hearer [17, p. 485]. Olshtain and Cohen added that “the speech act of complimenting is intrinsically courteous and enables the speaker to make use of available opportunities to express and interest in the hearer” [17, 158].

In speech act theory, an assessment about someone would be judged to be a compliment, given certain pre-existing conditions: “To compliment is to express approval of the hearer for something. Complimenting presupposes that the thing the hearer is complimented for is good, though it need not necessarily be good for him. One might, for example, compliment him on his heroic and self-sacrificing behavior” [31, p. 31-32]. The conditions found in Searle and Vanderveken's definition are important for distinguishing between compliments and other kinds of related speech acts, e. g. praising, but they frame compliments almost exclusively in terms of an evaluation of the positive value of the “thing” being praised, and the pre-existing relationship between the “thing” and the hearer. The examination of compliments as parts of adjacency pairs, on the other hand, allows for a new way of examining what compliments do. As shown by Anita Pomerantz [28], who studied compliments in conversation, compliments do not just “express approval”, they also create a “problem” for hearers, who are faced with a conflict between two general principles of interaction identified by conversation analysts, namely, the preference for agreement and the avoidance of self-praise (on the concept of “preference”. To accept a compliment means to follow the general preference for agreeing with our interlocutor, but violates the dispreference for praising oneself. To reject a compliment creates the opposite situation, that is, it follows the preference for avoiding self-praise but violates the preference for agreement.

Compliments may play an important role in the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships. Wolfson and Manes argued, however, that the primary function of compliments is the “establishment or reaffirmation of common ground, mutuality, or ... solidarity” [16]. As such, compliments can work in several different ways within interactions, such as introducing conversations, expressing approval, offering thanks, or greeting others. According to J. Holmes, the “most obvious function [compliments] serve is to oil the social wheels ... increasing or consolidating solidarity between people” [17, 462].

The aspect under consideration in this article is how the compliments are accomplished, as not all compliments are formulaic. There exist some indirect and ambiguous praises and compliments which require more interpreting efforts.

Compliments do not occur freely in conversation but are occasioned internationally. They tend to show up in particular sequential positions showing orientation to the presence of some compliment able objects in the prior turns. Sometimes they are found in positions where their absence could cause interactional problems.

A great number of the compliments, especially those in the first pair part position, do not occur singly.

Instead they are embedded in other utterances. E. g. in a questioning turn, a compliment is often precede or followed by a question, or franked by a question or another utterance. In an informing turn, a compliment is usually embedded in utterances. Compliments in the second pair part tend to have a simpler turn design.

However, single compliments are not too common.

In some ways a compliment is just a special type of assessment. In particular, it is a positive assessment directed towards an involved party. For example, if I say “It's a great book” to my friend, this is a simple assessment. On the other hand, if I say the same thing to the author of the book he would probably respond to this as a compliment. But compliments are also different from assessments in that while an assessment makes relevant either agreement or disagreement, second pair parts to compliments are more complicated.

The primary interaction goal of giving compliments is to create affiliation, i. e. a feeling of closeness. However, the deeper goal may be much more difficult to determine. Perhaps the giver simply wants to “be friendly”. On the other hand, the giver might want to create affiliation in order to later make some sort of request, in other words, the function of compliments might be to “soften us up”. This is certainly one reason why people often feel uncomfortable when they receive a compliment.

Generally speaking we tend to give most of our compliments to people in our same age and status groups. That is, teenagers compliment other teenagers, while older adult mostly compliment older adults.

Men seem to give praise equally to both men and women. Women on the other hand tend to lavish more of their compliments on other women than on men. Women are also much more likely to receive compliments on their appearance than are men.

One reason compliments and their replies are interesting is that when someone offers a compliment this sets up a problematic situation for the person receiving the compliment. There is a general preference in conversation towards agreement. Therefore, we might expect people to want to agree with compliments.

For the modern period, more work has been done. Aijmer deals with thanking as well as apologies, requests and offers, all of which are similar in that they are made up of limited numbers of expressions and speech-act forms. The present study makes use of her study as a basis for comparison. We must stress, however, that her study deals with authentic spoken present-day English, whereas this study is concerned with transcribed or fictional dialogue in Modern English. Consequently, the results presented in the following should be seen as preliminary.

The gratitude expressions themselves were probably the same in the Modern period as they are today, but the intensifiers used and especially the thanking-responders have changed.

The text types with the highest frequencies of thanking are comedies and language teaching texts. The examples in language teaching texts are unfortunately very often isolated glosses that cannot be analyzed in terms of context, but their occurrence at least shows that a polite use of gratitude expressions was considered important. Thanking in comedies is a more rewarding subject for study since the context is always reasonably clear.

The function of the expressions thank you and thanks was mainly to express gratitude in Modern English. The gratitude expressions had not developed the discourse-marking features of today's British English; nor is it possible to see the complex patterns of thanking in different turn-positions in the English language material. The objects of gratitude were largely the same some centuries ago as they are today, but if `a proposal to do something' is counted as an object of gratitude in Modern English, it seems it was not so in Early Modern times [9].

There is no reason to doubt that thanking was required in certain situations to achieve politeness in Modern English. However, Early Modern English thanking had some features which suggest that the politeness culture of the period was different from that of today, and possibly also that it changed during the period. It has been suggested that the early part of the period, the time of Shakespeare, was marked by positive politeness but that the trend later was towards a more negative politeness culture, created by greater social distance in society. Both the issues concerning the intensifiers/responders and the pragmatics of thank you and thanks appear to support this [9].

It is clear that gratitude expressions can function in a number of ways in Modern English. Searle considered thank (for) as an illocutionary force indicating device which is specified by a set of rules:

Propositional content rule: past act A done by H (hearer).

Preparatory rule: A benefits S (speaker) and S believes A benefits S.

Sincerity rule: S feels grateful or appreciative for A.

Essential rule: Counts as an expression of gratitude or appreciation.

This is, however, not the only way to describe thanking. Searle's rules are sometimes broken, such as when thank you is used ironically [7] or has the function of closing a conversation, or accepting/rejecting an offer. A sociological approach suggests that thanking is a small supportive ritual associated with politeness (ibid), and its social effect is an acknowledgement of the benefit one has received. Thus, it is clear that the functions of thanking in Modern English cannot be explained as the ritualized thanking associated with politeness.

Politeness is a key-word in this study. Therefore a look at some frequently quoted studies concerning politeness in Modern English may be useful.

Holmes [17, p. 346] distinguishes between negatively affective speech which can be mitigated, and positively affective speech which can be boosted. A boosted thanking, thank you very much, is possible, whereas a mitigated thanking, *thank you a little, seems odd. The expression thank you is therefore a positively affective speech act.

In Leech, thanking falls under his `convivial' category of speech acts, that is, a speech-act which is intrinsically polite or courteous. Here, maximizing politeness, ie positive politeness is achieved by boosting, using intensifying adverbs, or by using prosodic devices. The expression `positive politeness' is used differently by Brown and Levinson (1987), who consider it as one of the super strategies for performing a face-threatening-act (FTA). Here, positive politeness is associated with a lesser degree of FTA and more intimacy between speakers than is negative politeness. It is clear that the act of thanking was a politeness phenomenon, usually a positively affective speech act, also in Early Modern English. But the question is whether thanking in earlier centuries was required under conditions different from those of today in order for the speaker to achieve politeness. In this study I will look at the frequency of adverbial intensifying (or boosting) in Early Modern English and the (rule-breaking) ironical use of thank you/thanks, and also, whether these phenomena were realized in the same way as they are today, and how they were responded to.

In Modern English, there are several contexts where thanking is required in order to meet the demands of politeness. There are also requirements for how strong the gratitude-expression should be relative to the context. One constraint is caused by the object of gratitude, whether it is a major or a minor favour, and whether it relates to material or immaterial things.

In Modern English, the most frequent context for thanking with regard to the type of `benefaction' seems to be `a proposal to do something'. It is evident that, since this context may include such things as a proposal to end a conversation (ie a closing signal), the function of thanking extends beyond expressing gratitude.

When investigating the pragmatics of thanking, Aijmer [9, c. 75] suggests the use of pragmatic frames for pragmatic phenomena.

The frames are, simply put, different variables for the context of an utterance. In order to be successful in communicative situations a speaker must know these frames, but the number of variables in different contexts might be very large and not always easy to discern. Nevertheless, Aijmer suggests some situational parameters for thanking. She first distinguishes between simple and intensified thank you/thanks. She then suggests the formal features, function (phatic, closing signal, acceptance for simple thank you/thanks; expressing sincere gratitude for intensified), intonation (rising tone for simple; falling tone for intensified), continuation patterns (that's okay etc for both simple and intensified thanking) and discourse specific features (telephone conversations etc for simple; none for intensified). Furthermore, Aijmer suggests situational features, such as setting (at work, at a person's house for simple thank you/thanks; at work, at a person's house and on social occasions for intensified thank you/thanks), participants (social roles as operator-caller but also personal relations for simple; friends, family-members, strangers for intensified) and types of thanking (`minor favours' for simple thank you/thanks; `major favours' or `potential favours' for intensified).

As thankful as he is to be alive, my friend Brian has mixed feelings. You see, when the suicide bomber penetrated the compound and the windows blew out, Brian only ended up with multiple fractures because of the air conditioner that literally landed in his lap. He told me that when he shuts his eyes, he still sees the body part that was on top of the unit. But because there were men and women screaming in their pain of dying, he didn't have enough time to think about it. He just jumped up and began looking for survivors. He was just grateful to be alive.

When you first realize that you are alive, really alive, then you begin to feel grateful -- but grateful to what? Grateful that you were not just one foot closer or you, too, would be a bunch of body parts? As you work through the rubble of utter disaster, you begin to realize that merely being alive is not enough. Gratitude is more than an attitude; it is a relationship with others, with God. And so you begin to show gratitude.

Fortunately, most of us, indeed, the overwhelming number of us, do not need Brian's experience to show the meaning of gratitude. For some of us, it is a happy discovery that the lump was benign, that our children will come home for a holiday, or just that the sun is shining. But, you see, gratitude is more than just a feeling of thankfulness. True gratitude is an attitude to be lived.

How does one live in gratitude? What does it mean to live in gratitude? Well, for one thing, it means acknowledging our utter dependence on God. Most people don't like to depend on anything; most of us like to think of ourselves as independent, not needing to depend on something or somebody. Dependence in our minds means having to acknowledge that we can't go it alone. It's one of the reasons why gratitude is such a difficult feeling or emotion for us. Gratitude is different than just being thankful for a favor or a compliment or a gift. Gratitude is far deeper, a total internalization of our acknowledgment of dependence in a relationship.

One could compare gratitude to a grammar. Just as the grammar of a language serves as the underlying structure of how we think, it also helps us construct and make sense out of our lives. The rules of this grammar cover all our activities. Its syntax reveals a system of relationships linking us to the holy and to every other part of the creation. However, the rules of the grammar of gratitude are not as simple as they seem at first glance. It's like learning another language.

The old way of learning a language was to study grammatical rules and memorize vocabulary. Foreign languages seemed foreign to us because we really didn't internalize them. Pedagogues, however, looked at how children learn languages and developed new ways to help us learn a new language. Children learn languages through speaking the language, through listening to others speak. In other words, a new language cannot be learned in isolation, even when one is using a computer generated program because the learner is working through the speakers of the language. We learn new languages best in community. The same is true of gratitude.

That's why community is so important in our lives. People who live in isolation from others have a difficult time learning the grammar of gratitude because the process of internalization is not as simple as it first appears. Instead of being grateful for what we have, our isolation makes us greedy for something more, better, or different. We can't be grateful because we are making comparisons and coveting other possibilities. Coveting is different than wanting. Coveting is wanting to have what the other person has by taking it away from that person. The grammar of gratitude is a language of boundless possibilities not a nine inch pie.

Just as learning a new language takes practice to fully internalize it, it takes practice to internalize gratitude. Take grace or a short blessing before meals. Most of us eat without thinking. Not so in many immigrant cultures, whether they are Christian or practice another faith. In the Indonesian, Burmese, and Latino communities that I work with, grace or a moment of silence is the norm -- for all meals. When we eat together in community, whether at a large church or even in a restaurant, grace is normally said or some other sign of gratitude normally made. Maybe it's because we have so much and people who are used to having so little are grateful to have anything at all.

Those ten lepers in our morning reading had nothing. In fact, they counted for less than nothing in their society. Given the gift of new life most of them, like most of us, went running on their way. One, the Samaritan, the foreigner, turned around and thanked Jesus. I was reminded vividly of that this week when an older woman passed her naturalization test. She walked back into the waiting room and broke down sobbing in gratitude; she tightly clasped the little red book -- not Mao's, of course, but a book with the documents that established our Nation and serve as reminders of our historical traditions: the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg address, and other great moments in our history.

The writer Mary Gordon discusses the importance of gratitude in her life after the death of her grandmother when she realized that memories may help to form the soul but that they cannot be captured and kept as possessions. She learns to be grateful for the memories that she has as she creates new spaces and experiences for herself. It is the same with gratitude. As we are grateful for our memories, both good and bad, for we learned from the bad, we use those memories as part of our internalization of gratitude. Memories serve as the community of the past. We now have a community of the present where we can live together to continue our internalization of gratitude.

2.2 Examples of gratitude expressions in Modern English

1. Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

2. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart.

3. They express gratitude for what Adrian meant to them.

4. Gratitude for the gifts poured down from above.

5. Please use the form below to donate - whatever amount you choose, please know that you have our undying gratitude for your donation!

6. Gratitude in a practical way are to be found elsewhere in life.

7. Gratitude owed to enable ' s supporters.

8. Gratitude for the invaluable contribution he has made.

9. We wish to express our sincere gratitude to all of them.

10. He deserves the gratitude of all croquet players for his many services to croquet over several decades.

11. Gratitude for the help I had given her in Denmark.

12. Please accept our heartfelt gratitude for your financial support over the last sixteen months.

13. The pharisees, who in their minds believed they were god's champions, were convinced they had earned the gratitude of god.

14. Gratitude for the godly lives of my dear parents.

15. For that, no doubt, he has our eternal gratitude.

16. Thank my parents for all their help and support over the years I obviously extend the same gratitude to my own parents.

17. Gratitude for the work they put in.

18. The man was elated and left in a state of pure joy and filled with profound gratitude.

19. My creator, make me happy; let me feel gratitude toward you for one benefit!

20. Our national assembly would like to express its deep gratitude for the generous support.

21. Has anyone done a ' gratitude journal'? I'm thinking of giving that a try.

22. The whole book is an act of gratitude.

23. Then out of gratitude, we'll support those artist who have touched us.

24. I could not express my gratitude then, and I don't know that I can describe it now.

25. He offered to help me carry my pack as a mark of his gratitude for the food, and I accepted his offer.

26. Let me express my sincere gratitude for all your help.

27. We remember with gratitude those who died defending our country.

28. ''Jake put his arms around me, drew me closer, wanting to comfort me. Leaning against him gratefully I swallowed hard, compressed my lips, and finally managed to get my swimming sense under control''

29. What village feasts have come to, I fear, in many cases, may be read in the pages of "Yeast" (though I never saw one so bad - thank God!).

30. I was born and bred a west-country man, thank God! a Wessex man, a citizen of the noblest Saxon kingdom of Wessex, a regular "Angular Saxon," the very soul of me adscriptus glebae

31. Tom had often afterwards reason to be thankful for that early drilling, and above all, for having mastered Harry Winburn's fall.

32. "Hah-hah!" gasps Tom, as his wind comes back; "pretty well, thank you - all right."

33. "Well, thank 'ee, that's a good fellow. Just pull on your trousers, and take your jug and mine. Tadpole will show you the way."

34. Forty young scapegraces expressed their thanks to the "sorrowful wolf" in their different ways before second lesson.

35. "Thank 'ee, Velveteens; I'm very comfortable," said Tom, shortening the rod in his hand, and preparing for battle.

36. "Worst sort we breed," responded Tom, following his example. "Thank goodness, no big fellow ever took to petting me."

37. "No, thank 'ee," answers the other, diving his hands farther into his coat-tails. "Thank you, old fellow," said he. "You're a good old brick to be serious, and not put out with me. I said more than I meant, I dare say, only you see I know I'm right. Whatever you and Gower and the rest do, I shall hold on. I must. And as it's all new and an uphill game, you see, one must hit hard and hold on tight at first."

38. They jumped up on to the steps to shake hands with him, and Tom mumbled thanks for the presents he had found in his study, and looked round anxiously for Arthur's mother.

39. The clock struck, and they had to go off to school, wishing Arthur a pleasant holiday, Tom, lingering behind a moment to send his thanks and love to Arthur's mother.

40. After a bit he looked up, stopped the pencil, and said, "Thank you very much, old fellow.

41. East buried his face in his hands on the table. Tom could feel the table tremble. At last he looked up. "Thank you again, Tom," said he; "you don't know what you may have done for me to- night. I think I see now how the right sort of sympathy with poor devils is got at."

42. Very good - I don't object; but what I have to add for you boys is this, that Holmes called a levy of his house after breakfast next morning, made them a speech on the case of bullying in question, and then gave the bully a "good sound thrashing;" and that years afterwards, that boy sought out Holmes, and thanked him, saying it had been the kindest act which had ever been done upon him, and the turning- point in his character; and a very good fellow he became, and a credit to his School.

43. In token of his gratitude, Arthur allowed Martin to tattoo a small anchor on one of his wrists; which decoration, however, he carefully concealed from Tom.

44. Ay, many is the brave heart, now doing its work and bearing its load in country curacies, London chambers, under the Indian sun, and in Australian towns and clearings, which looks back with fond and grateful memory to that School-house drawing-room, and dates much of its highest and best training to the lessons learnt there.

45. At 39, divorced and staggering under a case of career burnout, Tanner Morgan has no idea her life is about to change forever thanks to a handsome stranger and a stray dog.…

46. I thank him, go inside and close the door. Both sink and toilet look as if they'd last been cleaned prior to the turn of the current century, and the room smells distinctly of stale urine. I hurry, wash my hands under icy water without the benefit of soap and step back into the aisle.

47. I thank the man, although I'm not sure what for -- perhaps the stinky bathroom or the boulder of sadness now sitting on my chest -- and quickly leave the building. The walk back up the road to my car seems to take no time, maybe because I'm so anxious to put distance between myself and that place.

48. I look back at Nate who now has his eyes closed, the aspirin apparently having given him some relief. And I say a little prayer of thanks for this, that there can be an actual escape from such pain, however temporary.

49. I let myself meet his gaze then. Gabe has honest eyes, and I think I actually believe him. "Thank you," I say, insignificant though it sounds. "Thank you."

50. Looking up, Cissy saw a tall, handsome cowboy standing just outside the room, a battered hat--almost as black as his thick hair--in hand. His warm brown eyes slid right past Jeb to alight briefly on Cissy. She suddenly

51. He turned to smile at Cissy Locke, pleased to encounter her--despite having every intention of doing just the opposite. "Thanks. I'm surprised you're here on a Friday evening."

52. Cissy grimaced at the thought of sitting down at the table with Gil and her mother. It was bad enough that Sally watched avidly through the screen door every evening as Gil wolfed down his supper and Cissy kept him company. She could just imagine what her matchmaking mama would say and do if Gil came into the house to eat with them again. Besides, with only ten days to go before she had to leave, this might be her only chance to spend time alone with Gil, not to mention her only opportunity to thank him properly.

53. Cissy blinked back tears and mentally gave thanks for such generosity. Gil squeezed her hands, calling her gaze back to his. That is--you are not to thank him for the money; he doesn't care to have that mentioned, but you are to write a letter telling of the progress in your studies and the details of your daily life. Just such a letter as you would write to your parents if they were living.

54. 'I trust that you are properly grateful for this very rare good fortune that has befallen you? Not many girls in your position ever have such an opportunity to rise in the world. You must always remember--''I--yes, ma'am, thank you. I think, if that's all, I must go and sew a patch on Freddie Perkins's trousers.'

55. I can't write any more; I get rather shaky when I sit up too long. Please forgive me for being impertinent and ungrateful. I was badly brought up.

56. Jimmie McBride has sent me a Princeton banner as big as one end of the room; I am very grateful to him for remembering me, but I don't know what on earth to do with it.

57. You'll forgive me, won't you, for being so rude? I have an awful habit of writing impulsively when I first think things, and then posting the letter beyond recall. But if I sometimes seem thoughtless and ungrateful, I never mean it. In my heart I thank you always for the life and freedom and independence that you have given me.

58. I hope you understand my position and won't be cross. The allowance I shall still most gratefully accept.

59. But anyway, Daddy, I trust the good Lord will reward you suitably. You deserve ten thousand years out of purgatory. Yours most gratefully, Judy Abbott

60. I'm educated! My diploma is in the bottom bureau drawer with my two best dresses. Commencement was as usual, with a few showers at vital moments. Thank you for your rosebuds.

61. Miss Pritchard, who is on the visiting committee, picked them out--not Mrs. Lippett, thank goodness. I have an evening dress, pink mull over silk (I'm perfectly beautiful in that), and a blue church dress, and a dinner dress of red veiling with Oriental trimming (makes me look like a Gipsy), and another of rose-colored challis, and a grey street suit, and an every-day dress for classes.

62. Eleven pages--poor Daddy, you must be tired! I meant this to be just a short little thank-you note--but when I get started I seem to have a ready pen.

Goodbye, and thank you for thinking of me--I should be perfectly happy except for one little threatening cloud on the horizon. Examinations come in February.

Yours with love, Judy

63. Thank you, Daddy, a thousand times. Your flowers make the first real, true present I ever received in my life. If you want to know what a baby I am I lay down and cried because I was so happy.

64. Thank you for making a very sick, cross, miserable Freshman cheerful. Probably you have lots of loving family and friends, and you don't know what it feels like to be alone. But I do.

65. I find that it isn't safe to discuss religion with the Semples. Their God (whom they have inherited intact from their remote Puritan ancestors) is a narrow, irrational, unjust, mean, revengeful, bigoted Person. Thank heaven I don't inherit God from anybody! I am free to make mine up as I wish Him. He's kind and sympathetic and imaginative and forgiving and understanding--and He has a sense of humour.

66. I meant to write to you before and thank you for your Christmas cheque, but life in the McBride household is very absorbing, and I don't seem able to find two consecutive minutes to spend at a desk.

67. We have the jolliest times at the table--everybody laughs and jokes and talks at once, and we don't have to say grace beforehand. It's a relief not having to thank Somebody for every mouthful you eat. (I dare say I'm blasphemous; but you'd be, too, if you'd offered as much obligatory thanks as I have.)

68. And two days after Christmas, they gave a dance at their own house for ME.

It was the first really true ball I ever attended--college doesn't count where we dance with girls. I had a new white evening gown (your Christmas present--many thanks) and long white gloves and white satin slippers.

69. Here's your cheque for fifty dollars. Thank you very much, but I do not feel that I can keep it. My allowance is sufficient to afford all of the hats that I need. I am sorry that I wrote all that silly stuff about the millinery shop; it's just that I had never seen anything like it before.

70. Thank you for permission to visit Julia--I take it that silence means consent.

Such a social whirl as we've been having! The Founder's dance came last week--this was the first year that any of us could attend; only upper classmen being allowed.

71. He's a Socialist--except, thank Heaven, he doesn't let his hair grow and wear red ties.

72. Thank you, Daddy, a thousand times. I think you're the sweetest man that ever lived--and the foolishest!

73. Your cheque for my family came yesterday. Thank you so much! I cut gymnasium and took it down to them right after luncheon, and you should have seen the girl's face! She was so surprised and happy and relieved that she looked almost young; and she's only twenty-four. Isn't it pitiful?

74. 'Thank the good Lord!' cried the mother, when she grasped the fact that that small piece of paper was one hundred dollars.

75. Mr. James McBride spent last Sunday with us. Fried chicken and ice-cream for dinner, both of which he appeared to appreciate.

76. I hope you appreciate the fact that this is a long letter from a person with writer's cramp. But I still love you, Daddy dear, and I'm very happy. With beautiful scenery all about, and lots to eat and a comfortable four-post bed and a ream of blank paper and a pint of ink--what more does one want in the world?

77. Sallie McBride helped me choose the things at the Senior auction. She has lived in a house all her life and knows about furnishing. You can't imagine what fun it is to shop and pay with a real five-dollar bill and get some change--when you've never had more than a few cents in your life. I assure you, Daddy dear, I do appreciate that allowance.

78. But, Daddy, if you'd been dressed in checked ginghams all your life, you'd appreciate how I feel. And when I started to the high school, I entered upon another period even worse than the checked ginghams.

79. And now, shall I tell you about my vacation, or are you only interested in my education as such? I hope you appreciate the delicate shade of meaning in 'as such'. It is the latest addition to my vocabulary.

80. I don't suppose you understand in the least what I am trying to say. A person important enough to be a Trustee can't appreciate the feelings of a person unimportant enough to be a foundling.

81. Hamlet is so much better on the stage than when we analyze it in class; I appreciated it before, but now, clear me!

82. Just to live in the same house with Sallie's mother is an education. She's the most interesting, entertaining, companionable, charming woman in the world; she knows everything. Think how many summers I've spent with Mrs. Lippett and how I'll appreciate the contrast.

83. I've just a moment, because I must attend two classes, pack a trunk and a suit-case, and catch the four-o'clock train--but I couldn't go without sending a word to let you know how much I appreciate my Christmas box.

84. And filling in every crevice, there is always such a lot of nonsense--just silly jokes about the little things that come up but very satisfying. We do appreciate our own witticisms!

85. So you see, Daddy, I am already plunged into work with my eyes persistently set against temptation. Don't be cross with me, please, and don't think that I do not appreciate your kindness, for I do--always--always.

86. Thanks to Alex, that chore had been turned into a simple twist of a knob. No more searching for frozen half-tires in the snow and stomping the water out of them. “Thank you for getting me off the hook. Dad even gave me some money to buy something for Destiny and Jonathan.”

87. “Thank you,” Carmen said as if it were a gift. “By the way, neither Alex nor I drink.” She let her gaze fall sternly on Dulce's face. “A spiked drink might seem harmless, but if a person was taking certain prescription drugs, it could be dangerous.”

88. Alex stood and squeezed his shoulder as they turned toward the door. “Thank you, son. That would be a big help. I talked to the Sanders and they're going to help as well.”

89. Carmen hesitated. Destiny probably wouldn't wake before they returned, and even if she did, Seсor Medena would keep her occupied. Besides, she was as hungry as she was exhausted. She shrugged.

“Thank you,” she said to Seсor Medena.

90. “Much better, thanks to cold medicine and whatever Seсor Medena put in my hot tea.” He made a face. “I'm afraid to ask what it was.”

91. “That is good to hear, son.” His voice was warm and confident. “Thank you for calling me.”

92. The only reason she was now standing at the front window on a sunny Friday afternoon, watching for his Jeep to head up the winding lane leading to his home was because she was thankful to him…right? No way could it be something more.

93. Rachel was thankful for the hall's lack of light -- the question, even if asked only in her head, made her uncomfortable. Why would she even care what Chance thought of the way she used to style her hair? Worse yet, why did his question leave her feeling lacking?

94. Looking up, Cissy saw a tall, handsome cowboy standing just outside the room, a battered hat--almost as black as his thick hair--in hand. His warm brown eyes slid right past Jeb to alight briefly on Cissy. She suddenly wished she'd confined her riotous curls in a bun. Thankfully, that dark gaze swung back to Jeb as he moved forward with an outstretched hand.

95. Aragorn thanked Celeborn many times. The gift of boats comforted him much, not least because there would now be no need to decide his course for some days. Often in their hearts they thanked the Lady of Lorien for the gift of lembas, for they could eat of it and find new strength even as they ran.

96. 'Also they have filled themselves with new doubts that disturb their plans. No tidings of the battle will come to Mordor, thanks to the horsemen of Rohan; but the Dark Lord knows that two hobbits were taken in the Emyn Muil and borne away towards Isengard against the will of his own servants. He now has Isengard to fear as well as Minas Tirith. If Minas Tirith falls, it will go ill with Saruman.'


Our investigation was devoted to the study of different aspects of gratitude act in the English language. We have considered features of modern English and main subjects, related to the act of gratitude.

We have analyzed thank you expression and responses to it in on the basis of sentences, selected from the fiction English literature.

As I have pointed out earlier, these acts have the effect of enhancing rapport between the interlocutors. I have claimed that thank you expressions are basically used to express appreciation of benefits and that this basic use of appreciating benefits is extended to the functions of conversational opening, stopping, closing and to the functions of leave-takings and positive answers, but not to the function of emotional dissatisfaction or discomfort.

In other words, the functions of conversational opening, stopping, closing and the functions of leave-takings and positive answers underlying involve the appreciation of benefit, but the function of emotional dissatisfaction does not. This shows that the same forms can have different implications in different contexts.

In my research, it was difficult to draw a generalization about the influence of the relationship of the interlocutors, their genders, their social status, etc. on their choice of responses to thank you expressions. There seems to be no absolute rule to govern this speech act. That is why illocutionary acts would be conventional but not rule governed at all.

I have come to the conclusion that speech act of gratitude plays an important role not just in the language itself but in human relations where the language is just the medium of mutual communication.

For further research, it is worth focusing on the influence of those factors. In addition, it will be interesting to observe how this type of speech act is used in other languages.

The speech acts of thank you expressions and responses to them seem to conflict with Grice's conversational maxim, "Be truthful", as do the acts of compliment in the sense that we are expected to tolerate some degrees of exaggeration or overuse of those speech acts. In further research, it would be also worthwhile to further examine those speech acts in connection with Gricean maxims.


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