Publication details [#57319]

Li, Xiaoting. 2013. Language and the body in the construction of units in Mandarin face-to-face interaction. In Raymond, Geoffrey and Beatrice Szczepek Reed, eds. Units of Talk – Units of Action. (Studies in Language and Social Interaction 25). John Benjamins. pp. 343–376.
Publication type
Article in book
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins


This article explores the interrelatedness between language and the body in the delimitation of multi-TCU turns in Mandarin face-to-face interaction. Based on video recordings of Mandarin conversation, this study describes a recurrent pattern of body movements: forward lean and return of the body. This type of body movements is relevant to the initiation and possible completion of multi-TCU turns and actions implemented through them. People deploy multiple resources, including language and the body, to indicate and recognize the boundaries of larger projects in interaction. The body may converge or diverge with other resources in the projection of their possible completion. It also provides participants with a resource to deal with contingencies in the construction of extended turns in interaction.