From turn-taking to stance-taking: Wenti-shi ‘(the) thing is’ as a projector construction and an epistemic marker in Mandarin conversation

From turn-taking to stance-taking: Wenti-shi ‘(the) thing is’ as a projector construction and... The noun-copula-clause (NCC) construction is a well-studied topic in English linguistics yet underexplored in languages like Mandarin. By investigating the use of wenti-shi (WTS) ‘(the) thing is/(the) problem is’ in Chinese conversation, this study aims to contribute to this literature. Drawing on natural spoken data and the framework of Interactional Linguistics, I argue that WTS can serve in conversation as a retrospective projector construction that foreshadows upcoming content while connecting the content to the previous discourse and an epistemic stance marker that signals a shift in perspective and helps form a (counter-)informing act, allowing speakers to upgrade their epistemic rights in the process of pursuing agreement. The structural and functional features of WTS both demonstrate commonalities with NCC constructions in other languages and reflect the influence of its component parts and language-specific tendencies. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Pragmatics Elsevier

From turn-taking to stance-taking: Wenti-shi ‘(the) thing is’ as a projector construction and an epistemic marker in Mandarin conversation

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN
0378-2166
eISSN
1879-1387
D.O.I.
10.1016/j.pragma.2018.02.002
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The noun-copula-clause (NCC) construction is a well-studied topic in English linguistics yet underexplored in languages like Mandarin. By investigating the use of wenti-shi (WTS) ‘(the) thing is/(the) problem is’ in Chinese conversation, this study aims to contribute to this literature. Drawing on natural spoken data and the framework of Interactional Linguistics, I argue that WTS can serve in conversation as a retrospective projector construction that foreshadows upcoming content while connecting the content to the previous discourse and an epistemic stance marker that signals a shift in perspective and helps form a (counter-)informing act, allowing speakers to upgrade their epistemic rights in the process of pursuing agreement. The structural and functional features of WTS both demonstrate commonalities with NCC constructions in other languages and reflect the influence of its component parts and language-specific tendencies.

Journal

Journal of PragmaticsElsevier

Published: Apr 1, 2018

References

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