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Interactional Functions of Imperative turns in Mandarin Conversation

  • Author / Creator
    Vukadinovich, Stefana
  • This study examines the use of imperative turns in naturalistic Mandarin interaction. Imperatives in Mandarin are defined as sentences expressing a command (e.g., Chao 1968; Li & Thompson 1981; Sun 2006). Previous research has described that imperatives can be used as requests, demands, suggestions, etc. (e.g., Yuan 1993; Lee-Wong 1994; Gao 1999; Zhang 2013). However, those studies are based on invented language examples or questionnaires, not authentic Mandarin conversational data. Thus, our knowledge about how imperative turns are used in Mandarin interaction is still limited. Adopting the methodology of Conversation Analysis, Interactional Linguistics, and Multimodal Analysis, this study explores the interactional functions of imperative turns in 12 hours of video-recorded everyday Mandarin interactional data. Imperative turns occur in initiating position in local sequences and conversational storytellings. Particularly, among all the functions of imperatives in initiating position, request is the most frequent. Imperative turns may also be used to accomplish proposals. The third major function of imperative turns in the data is to perform the action of suggestion. The production of imperative turns co-occurs with bodily- visual behaviors, such as gestures and gaze at relevant objects. Findings of this study contribute to our understanding of how imperative turns are actually produced and used in Mandarin interaction.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2019
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/r3-cwan-z230
  • License
    Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.