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An Analysis of Chinese Sentence Final Particle Ba in Dispreferred Responses

Issue: Vol 4 No. 2 (2019)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/eap.37314


This paper focuses on the Chinese sentence final particle ba in a dispreferred response environment and examines how ba functions with other features to mitigate the negative valence. Contrary to previous studies which argue that ba is the only relevant feature to mitigate the negative valence, this paper illustrates that ba itself is not sufficient to fulfill such purpose. This paper demonstrates that in natural conversation, ba tends to occur with delay, palliative, accounts and pro-forma agreement as well as other linguistic features of dispreferred responses. The data shows that it is not only ba but ba and other features which work together to facilitate the interaction between conversation participants. The present study provides a new approach to interpreting Chinese sentence final particles by examining them in natural conversation interaction instead of relying on invented or written data.


Author: Jun Xu

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