Item Details

Other-repetitions in Mandarin Chinese: Functions and responses

Issue: Vol 4 No. 2 (2019)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/eap.37068


It is generally acknowledged that other-repetitions have various functions in daily conversation. However, no research has yet been done to explore the relationship between their functions and responses. This study sets out to bridge this gap by investigating the functions of other-repetitions in Mandarin Chinese conversations as well as the relationships between the functions and the responses. Adopting the method of conversation analysis, the study shows that other-repetitions may be accomplished by no response, minimal response, and expanded response, which are highly related with the functions that other-repetitions fulfil. Specifically, (i) for other-repetitions serving as reactive tokens to show listenership, alignment, and registering of receipt, no response is needed; (ii) for other-repetitions indicating recipients’ understanding of the previous utterance, a further confirmation or minimal response is generally needed; and (iii) for other-repetitions with a rising intonation or particular stress of certain words indicating recipients’ failure in understanding what is uttered, they will be accomplished by expanded responses.

Author: Xiuzhen Xiong, Lihong Quan

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