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Inducing cooperation on the part of the recipient

This implicit communicative goal seems to be the primary concern for female speakers (53% of the contexts we have analysed), whereas for men this goal loses more than two-thirds of its importance (we found it only in 14.3% of our corpus). This tendency was also to be expected, given the basic intention of female speakers in the communication process in general, which is ensuring cooperation. The cooperative strategy is the only pragmatic means employed in order to accomplish this goal, and its tactical structure is visualized in Figure 3-4.

Figure 3-4: The tactical structure of the cooperative strategy in compliment discourse

Unfortunately, at this point we do not have sufficient statistical data to draw conclusions about the frequency of the tactical patterns we have shown in Figure 3-4, although one tendency seems to be clear even now: the contact-making tactics reflects the general value of the cooperative strategy for male and female communicants (it is three times less frequent with men than with women). Furthermore, the solidarity tactics is very rarely found in men’s speech, and one of the reasons for this may be the fact that this tactics is mostly used for argumentation and might be considered way too implicit and weak by male speakers. The range of the features of the object of positive evaluation is broader in comparison with the first tactical complex we have analysed in 3.1 and includes appearances, natural beauty and other characteristics. Examples (7) and (8) illustrate how the cooperative strategy can be employed:

  • (7) Holly didn’t know him (Patrick) very well, he was just one of the people she knew from being at the ball every year. “You are looking as lovely as always! Can I get you a drink?” (Ahern 2008: 444) (the contact-making tactics used by a man);
  • (8) “Been a while since these tables have seen sunlight?”-“Yeah, it’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” (Cornwell 2005: 32) (the common understanding, or phatic, tactics).
 
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