Collaborative Construction of Turn Constructional Units in Mandarin Conversation

  • Author / Creator
    Song, Zixuan
  • In everyday conversation, two participants may collaboratively produce an utterance. Previous research has documented the syntactic structures and the interactional functions of collaboratively constructed turns/TCUs (CCTs) in languages such as English, Japanese and Finnish (Lerner, 1991, 1996; Hayashi, 2003, 2005; Helasvuo, 2004). However, there is no existing research on CCTs in Mandarin conversation. This study intends to fill this gap by exploring how two participants collaborative construct a turn, and what social actions are accomplished by the CCTs.
    Adopting the methodology of Conversation Analysis (CA), Interactional Linguistics (IL), and Immediate Constituent (IC) analysis, this study examines the social actions accomplished by CCTs and their syntactic structures. The data for this research are 11 hours of video and audio recorded naturalistic Mandarin conversation. An examination of the data shows that CCTs accomplish three main (sequences of) actions: assessment, informing, and question-answer sequence. When used to accomplish assessments, CCTs mainly serve as summative assessments that occur at the possible closure of extended sequences. When accomplishing informings, CCTs may be used to inform the recipients of past events, participants’ future plans, and participants’ affective stance. In question-answer sequences, CCTs may function as the answers to the questions. Also, participants may collaboratively construct a question-answer sequence. That is, the first speaker produces a syntactically incomplete turn as a question, and the second speaker answers the question by collaboratively completing the turn. The findings of this study contribute to our understanding of CCTs and turn sharing in Mandarin conversation.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2020
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
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