Publication details [#66558]

Gao, Hua. 2019. Devices of alignment. Suoyi- and Danshi-prefaced questions in Mandarin Chinese TV news interviews. Chinese Language and Discourse 10 (1).
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
Amsterdam: John Benjamins


This study draws on a conversational analysis (CA)-oriented micro-analytical approach and examines the form, placement and function of interviewer (IR) questions prefaced by turn-initial ?? suoyi ‘so’ and ?(?) dan(shi) ‘but’ in Chinese TV news interviews. It is found that IRs often employ the resultative connective suoyi as the first item of their turn immediately after a question-answer (QA) sequence. They do so to preface a declarative, alone or followed by a question tag that invokes an interviewee (IE) opinion on, or the gist of, IE prior talk. While such a design can be a device that IRs use to signal the closing of the ongoing topic, the recipient may orient to it as eliciting confirmation or agreement. By contrast, the adversative connective dan(shi) in the turn-initial position prefaces either a wh-question or a yes/no question and brings forth a point of contrast and transition for questioning. As a practice with which IRs re-direct the IE’s response to a previous unaddressed concern with the agenda tightened, the dan(shi)-prefaced questions do not convey opposition or disagreement. Rather, they function to deal with the resumption in a way that renders it unproblematic. It is argued that both types of connective-prefaced questions together with the responses they elicit demonstrate a particular kind of alignment between IRs and IEs in Chinese TV news interviews.