Paper Example on Ways Used to Express Gratitude in the United States and Indonesia

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1789 Words
Date:  2022-06-05


In the past, pragmatic studies have examined different features of linguistic communication. These features include the use of contextual cues, pragmatic failure, indirectness in cross-cultural situations, politeness and conversation styles (Al-Khawaldeh, 2014). Interestingly, Kadar and Mills (2011) implore that courtesy has been regarded as a highly significant matter particularly between persons from the West and those from the East. For example, Al-khawaldeh (2014) points out that a country in the East, such as Jordan considers it imperative for individuals to be grateful. For instance, regardless of whether they are generation X or Y, individuals expressing gratitude will often incorporate the name of Allah in their sentences. For example, Al-Khawaldeh (2014, p.254) reiterates the argument when he posits, 'By the name of Allah, I am unable to express my thankfulness for what you did.' Laopongharn and Sercombe (2009) share that successful intercultural communication takes into account social values and structures, as well as associated politeness routines. One of the ways through which politeness can be expressed is through gratitude (Freitas, Pieta & Tudge, 2011).

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According to Brown and Levinson (1987), people who interact through communication often collaborate with the aim of maintaining each other's face. It is in this respect that the relevance of communication, in expressing gratitude and expressing politeness ought to be analyzed concerning generation X and Y individuals in both the East and the West. Interactions also apply to when one is showing gratitude. It is often advisable that one is showing gratitude, he or she should do so in a manner that maintains their counterpart's face as well as their own. Besides, face can be categorized as either positive or negative. Negative face is the wish to remain unaffected adversely by the actions of others while positive face is the desire to attain approval from others (Park & Guan, 2009)

Individuals born between 1966 to the late 1970s belong to the generation X and as such are more verbally and physically interactive as compared to the generation Y composed of personalities born between 1980 and 1994 (Weiler, 2005). Nevertheless, generation X and Y exhibit differences in that the latter is tech savvy and as such may not necessarily express gratitude physically but rather through the use of online platforms, despite their geographical location (Beutell and Wittig-Berman, 2008). Moreover, the generation X are not as tech savvy as the Y generation and as such will prefer the conventional physical means of expressing gratitude and politeness. The uniqueness of these groups forms the foundation for assessing the similarities and differences as far as politeness and appreciation are concerned.

The comparison of methods used to express gratitude between persons of two different nationalities more so between two different generations is instrumental in attaining fine-grained insights on linguistic behavior. Unfortunately, there exist gaps and limitations in previous research in that they do not adequately cover the linguistic disparities between Americans and Indonesians. They also do not address the disparities regarding Generation X and Y. Therefore, there exists the need for original research, which will make a contribution to fill the gap.

The goal of this study is to investigate the different ways used to express gratitude in The United States and Indonesia. It will primarily examine the American and Indonesian context of expressing gratitude by basing on the comparison between Generation X and Y of these countries. Based on the objective of the study, the following research questions are formulated: (1) Are there similarities and differences that exist when persons from either America or Indonesia express gratitude? (2) Are these similarities and differences observable from the contexts of Generation X and Y?

The research will encompass the incorporation of 40 Americans and 60 Indonesians into the study. From 40 participants sampled from each country, 20 of them will be members of Generation Y while the other 20 will be members of Generation X. From 60 participants sampled from each country, 30 of them will be members of Generation Y while the other 30 will be members of Generation X. One limitation of the study is that the study will be restricted to a sample of only 100 participants and therefore will not generalize the whole population.

The study's importance is manifested in the way it will provide insights on the linguistic behavior in expressing the gratitude of two different cultural contexts of the Americans and Indonesians. Its significance is also inherent in the fact that it will make a relevant input to the field of cross-cultural research. Besides, the analysis will be instrumental for it will for the first time provide differences in methods of expressing gratitude between different cultures, while contrasting with two different generations.

As the background of the study has been discussed, the following sections will discuss more on expressing gratitude, expressions of gratitude in United States and in Indonesia. The categorization of gratitude expressions, role of politeness, and Generation X & Y will also be discussed in the relation of the research.

Expression of Gratitude

Eisensten and Bodman (1986) have identified expressing gratitude as an illocutionary act based on Searle's classification of speech act (Searle, 1976). It is identified that an expression of gratitude is "An illocutionary act performed by a speaker which is based on a past act performed by the hearer. This past act benefits the speaker and the speaker believes it to have benefited him or her. The speaker feels grateful or appreciative, and makes a statement which counts as an expression of gratitude." (Eisensten and Bodman, 1986 p. 167)

According to Lambert et al. (2010), when one increases the rate at which they render the expression of gratitude, the discernment of collective strength increases. In another study, Al-Khawaldeh and Zegarac (2013) share that women perceive the communication of appreciation to be more important compared to men. Similarly, despite the fact that individuals of both genders have similar access to resources of demonstrating gratitude, the stratagems they incorporate have remarkable differences. Also, the style of demonstrating gratitude between men and women differs based on some factors. These factors include the addressee, social formality, and situational context (Froh et al., 2009). According to Sansone and Sansone (2010), there exists an overwhelming body of research, which supports the assertion gratitude and the sense of wellbeing are highly interrelated.

Expression of Gratitude in the United States

Bodman and Eisenstein (1986) stated that gratitude expressions is an essential pragmatic function to establish social links which incorporated politeness and also good manners in native speaker's minds. They also have mentioned that apart from thanking there are other functions to express gratitude from the native speakers of English in the United States.

The expressions of gratitude found in their research are shown in table 1,2,3,4,5,6,7.

Table 1. Situation 1, To a friend who lends you $5

No Responses Strategies

  1. Thanks a lot. / Thanks. I really appreciate it. Thanking
  2. Thanks, I'll give it back to you Monday. Thanking + promise / reassurance
  3. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Expressing surprise + thanking
  4. Thanks a bunch. You're a lifesaver. Thanking + compliment

Table 2. To a friend who brings you a birthday present

No Responses Strategies

  1. Oh, you know me so well. Thanks, I love it. Expressing surprise + complimenting + thanking + expressing liking
  2. It's beautiful. Thank you. Complementing the object + thanking
  3. It's lovely, but you didn't have to get me anything. Complementing the object + expressing the lack of necessity/generosity

Table 3. To a vice-President of the company you are working for who offers you an unexpected raise

No Responses Strategies

  1. Gee, thanks. / Wow, thanks. Expressing surprise + thanking
  2. Thank you. I'm glad you appreciate my work / I'm glad you're happy with my work / That's great! Thanking + expressing pleasure
  3. That's very kind of you. Thank you so much. Complementing the person + thanking
  4. Thank you very much. I really like working here. I'll continue to give it my best. Thanking + expressing liking + promising

Table 4. To a friend who offers to lend you $500 you suddenly need

No Responses Strategies

  1. You're a lifesaver. I'll never forget it. You can't imagine what this means to me. Complementing the person/action + thanking + expressing indebtedness + expressing gratitude
  2. I'll return it to you as soon as I can. I really appreciate what you're doing. Promising to repay + expressing appreciation
  3. Wow. I don't know how to thank you. This is a lifesaver. Expressing relief + thanking + complimenting the action
  4. Are you sure this is all right? Expressing reluctance to accept

Table 5. To a friend who took you to lunch at a very nice restaurant

No Responses Strategies

  1. Thanks for lunch. I'll take you out next week / Next time, it's my treat. Thanking + promising to reciprocate
  2. This was very nice. Thanks a lot for the meal. Complementing the person/action + thanking
  3. It was a wonderful lunch. Thank you for inviting me. Complementing the event + thanking

Table 6. To a colleague at the office who tells you that she has organized a farewell party for you before you leave for a new job

No Responses Strategies

  1. You're wonderful. / That's very nice of you. Complementing the person
  2. Oh that's really nice! You didn't have to do that! Expressing surprise + complimenting the action + expressing the lack of necessity

Table 7. To a relatively new friend whose party you have really enjoyed

No Responses Strategies

  1. You really made me feel at home. / The dinner was delicious. You'll have to come for dinner at my place when we get a chance / I'd like you to come over to my place next time / I'd like to have you over. I'll be in touch with you. Complimenting action / person + offering reciprocity
  2. Thank you very much for the dinner and the company. I really enjoyed myself. I'll see you later. Good night. Thanking + expressing pleasure + leave-taking
  3. Thank you for inviting me. I had a great time. Thanking + expression of pleasure
  4. Thank you for a wonderful evening. I hope we'll get together again soon / Perhaps we can get together again soon / Let's get together again soon. Thanking + expressing a desire to continue relationship

There are various patterns found on the findings of the research. These various patterns determine the expressions of gratitude are used as the base foundations that are in line with Cheng's (2005) taxonomy that is used in the present study.

Expression of Gratitude in Indonesia

The sources of expressions of gratitude in Indonesia that discuss the concept are still limited. It is almost impossible to get a reference or source that discusses the topic in details. Therefore terimakasihis an expression of gratitude that is common to be used according to Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia (KBBI). According to KBBI, terimakasih or thank you in English means to express the feeling of gratitude, it brings gratitude or an act of repayment after one has received an act of kindness. In the implementation, the word has different categories of variations (Rini, 2014).

Terima Kasih

The expression of gratitude in this form is the basic form of thank you in Indonesian is used to anyone without limitation of age, gender, situations, positions, relationships, characteristics, et...

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