Creativity in compliment responses in Japanese everyday talk


  • Ryoko Suzuki Keio University



compliment, response, rejection, self-praise, modesty


This article explores how participants respond to compliments in Japanese everyday interactions. Even though compliments and responses (C-R) make a well-established format that contains a relatively high degree of fixedness and social and temporal restrictions, examinations of video-recorded Japanese conversation data show that a compliment recipient (Rt) handles a compliment delivered by a compliment giver (Gv) in a range of creative uses of language and the body. Focusing on negative responses that often start with iyaiya “no no”, we show that, in addition to formulaic responses, an Rt may add creative comments and/or perform embodied actions to partially accept the compliment or shift the perspective of the compliment. In short, Japanese speakers’ responses to compliments are much more creative and nuanced than previously assumed.

Author Biography

  • Ryoko Suzuki, Keio University

    Ryoko Suzuki’s research interests include the grammaticization of utterance-final pragmatic particles, the status of ‘clause’ in Japanese and English, and the nature and emergence of linguistic formulaicity and creativity in everyday talk. She has been actively involved in domestic and international research projects. She has co-edited Usage-based and Typological Approaches to Linguistic Units with Tsuyoshi Ono and Ritva Laury (2021).


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How to Cite

Suzuki, R. (2022). Creativity in compliment responses in Japanese everyday talk. East Asian Pragmatics, 7(3), 365-394.