Minimal Response Token en in Mandarin Conversation

  • Author / Creator
    Oralova, Gaisha
  • This thesis focuses on one of the most frequently used response tokens in Mandarin - en “mm”. Through examining 6 hours of everyday spontaneous Mandarin conversation, this paper explores the interactional functions of the response token en in different sequential and situational environments, as well as its prosodic and visual features. The analysis shows that en has several uses in current conversational data. When placed in the middle of an extended turn, en can serve as a continuer. When it appears in the end of an extended turn, en functions as an acknowledgement token. En may be a confirmation token when it confirms a previous turn’s assertion or claim. It can also register the receipt of the listener's responses at sequence-closing third positions. In addition, this study describes the prosodic features of en and the body movements concurrent with the production of en. This thesis hopes to shed some light on the usage of the minimal response token en in Mandarin conversation, as well as on response tokens at large. Many learners of Mandarin find it difficult to distinguish different usages of Mandarin response token en in conversation. Therefore, this study on the minimal response token en also has implications to Chinese language teaching and learning.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • East Asian Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Järvikivi, Juhani (Department of Linguistics)
    • Ono, Tsuyoshi (East Asian Studies)