Chapter published in:Current Studies in Chinese Language and Discourse: Global context and diverse perspectives
Edited by Yun Xiao and Linda Tsung
[Studies in Chinese Language and Discourse 10] 2019
► pp. 106–136
Chapter 6Preliminaries to delicate matters
Some functions of “I say to you” sequences in Mandarin Chinese conversations
The meta-language unit “I say to you” is frequently heard in Mandarin Chinese conversations, and are most commonly expressed as wo gen ni shuo ‘I say to you’, wo gen ni jiang ‘I talk to you’, or wo gaosu ni ‘I tell you’, collectively termed “I-say-to-you” expressions. Quantitative investigations reveal that they are dedicated interactional resources found only in spoken conversation. By using conversation analytic methodology, further examination of their sequential trajectory shows that a core function of “I-say-to-you” expressions is to preface upcoming “delicate” matters, such as dispreferred next action, disagreement or disaffiliative turn, and other actions that may be resistance-implicative for the recipient. As a preface, “I-say-to-you” expressions can be used by the speaker to secure multi-turns space with which to gradually deliver the “delicate” matter and achieve other interactional goals.
Keywords: conversation analysis, Mandarin Chinese, meta-language units, interactional linguistics, preface
- 2.Data and methodology
- 3.Some preliminary quantitative results
- 4.Analysis of some ‘I-say-to-you’ sequences
- 4.1Prefacing delicate matters with ‘I say to you’
- 4.2‘Preparing the ground’ with ‘I say to you’
- 5.Achieving interactional goals with ‘I-say-to-you’ sequences
- 6.Concluding remarks and further discussions
Published online: 15 April 2019
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