Inviting is a ubiquitous social action. Although the outcome of an invitation and whatever arrangements are made thereafter involve collaboration between the parties involved, nevertheless an invitation is made (usually) with the aim that the invitee will accept and hence that inviter and invitee(s) will get together to do something, i.e. for some sociability. In Mandarin, invitations are realized mainly through three syntactic forms or conversational practices, namely, interrogatives in the form of “Verb-not-Verb”, imperatives, and declaratives containing the lexical item “hai” (还) or “benlai (本来). The distributional pattern of these syntactic forms is systematically related to the inviter’s anticipation of the likelihood of the success of an invitation (e.g. the ease or difficulty with which the invitee might have in accepting the invitation). There is a symmetry or congruence between on the one hand the inviter’s choice of a specific syntactic form, and on the other the invitee’s response. Inviting is executed not only through turn design but also through sequential management, either simply in an adjacency pair or in a rather extended sequence. The present study is informed by the methodology of conversation analysis and uses audio-recorded daily communications in Mandarin as data. The findings contribute to the existing conversation analysis studies on social actions and also to the study of Mandarin grammar.
Journal of Pragmatics – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 2018
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