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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


The Discourse Functions of dui a in Spoken Mandarin

Vol. 28 No. 4   6/1998  


The Discourse Functions of dui a in Spoken Mandarin


Sai-hua Kuo









Key words

discourse, distribution, function, agree ment token, minimal response, mass media, language use, language change


      This paper examines the distributions and functions of dui a 對阿 , which is an agreement token generally occurring in turn-initial position in Chinese spoken discourse. I have found that in extended discourse (e.g. narration or explanation/argumentation), while the turn-final dui a 對阿 can bring the talk to a closure and strengthen what the speaker has just said, the turn-internal dui a 對阿 has the simultaneous function of acknowledging the audience’s minimal responses and confirming the speaker’s own prior talk. Finally, I suggest that this more extensive use of dui a 對阿 , which distinguishes adolescents’ or young adults’ speech style in current Taiwanese society, might be attributed to t he popularity of a TV show. Therefore, this instance also illuminates the important role mass media has played in language use and language change.



Author: Sai-hua Kuo
Genre: Article
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