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The sequential environments of positive assessments as responsive actions in Mandarin daily interaction

Issue: Vol 5 No. 3 (2020)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

Subject Areas:

DOI: 10.1558/eap.39611


In this article, six different types of sequential environments which normally and sequentially project the occurrence of positive assessments are identified. The turns that perform the social action of positive assessment are shaped and occasioned by six different prior actions. They are respectively self-praise, self-deprecation, troubles-telling, self-PA-implicative conducive yes/no question, offering/granting a request and informing. When responding to one of the six prior social actions, interlocutors normally provide a positive assessment as responses. It is demonstrated that these six prior actions have different degrees of projectability for the appearance of positive assessment as responsive actions and their varying degrees of projectability constitute a continuum. While self-praise, self-deprecation and self-PA-implicative conducive yes/no questions have the highest degrees of projectability, informing has the least, with troubles-telling and offer/granting a request positioning in between. This argumentation is based on an analysis of their projectabilities from the perspective of conditional relevance and preference organization. The present study contributes to our understanding of how Mandarin Chinese speakers make positive assessments from an interactional perspective.

Author: Yanhong Zhang, Guodong Yu

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