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A study of the interactional function of the tag question dui bu dui in Mandarin conversation from a multimodal perspective Open Access


Other title
Conversational Analysis
dui bu dui
Interactional function
Interactional Linguistics
Tag question
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Supervisor and department
Li, Xiaoting (East Asian Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Commons, Anne (East Asian Studies)
Li, Xiaoting (East Asian Studies)
Kost, Claudia (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Department of East Asian Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This thesis investigates the interactional function of the tag question dui bu dui (‘right?’) in Mandarin conversation and the prosodic and visual features involved in its production. Adopting the methodology of Conversation Analysis and Interactional Linguistics, the present study explores the function of dui bu dui in 8 hours of Mandarin conversational data. These two methodologies have not been used in the study of tag questions in Chinese Linguistics. Dui bu duis in the data mainly have two interactional functions: seeking acknowledgment and seeking affiliation. These two interactional functions of dui bu dui have not been documented in the previous studies. A detailed examination of the data shows that when used after the topic component of an utterance, it serves to seek acknowledgment of the referent specified in the topic. When occurring after an assertive sentence, dui bu dui is used to seek the recipient's affiliation with the speaker’s stance revealed in the speaker’s immediately preceding assertion. Dui bu duis are also produced with recurrent prosodic features such as slightly falling pitch movement and short duration. In addition, some visual behaviors (e.g., gaze shift and hold of gesture) are involved in the production of dui bu dui. The current study is an attempt to study dui bu dui from a multimodal perspective. The study shows that dui bu duis have different interactional functions depending on the sequential position in which they occur. This study contributes to our understanding of the use of dui bu dui in everyday Mandarin conversation.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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