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Chinese Language and Discourse

image of Chinese Language and Discourse
ISSN 1877-7031
E-ISSN 1877-8798

<p>A peer-reviewed journal which seeks to publish original work on Chinese and related languages, with a focus on current topics in Chinese discourse studies. The notion of <em>discourse</em> is a broad one, emphasizing an empirical orientation and encompassing such linguistic fields as language and society, language and culture, language and social interaction, discourse and grammar, communication studies, and contact linguistics. Special emphasis is placed on systematic documentation of Chinese usage patterns and methodological innovations in explaining Chinese and related languages from a wide range of functionalist perspectives, including, but not limited to, those of Conversation Analysis, sociolinguistics, corpus linguistics, grammaticalization, cognitive linguistics, typological and comparative studies.</p><p>The journal also publishes review articles as well as discussion topics. Exchanges of research views between authors and readers are also encouraged.</p>


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  • From language structures to language use: A case from Mandarin motion expression classification
    • Authors: Liang Chen, and Jiansheng Guo
    • Source: Chinese Language and Discourse, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2010, pages: 31 –65
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    • The place of Mandarin Chinese in Talmy’s two-way typology of motion expressions has been a focus of debate. Based primarily on linguistic intuition, some researchers consider Mandarin a Satellite-framed language, and some others consider it a Verb-framed language. This paper reports results from analyses of three different types of data from speakers’ actual language use in narrative discourse (one from elicited adults’ spoken narratives, one from written narratives in nine contemporary novels, and one from elicited children’s spoken narratives from ages 3 to 9) that suggest otherwise. Specifically, Mandarin shows a unique discourse style that matches neither Satellite-framed nor Verb-framed languages. The data provide evidence for categorizing Mandarin Chinese as the third language type: an equipollently-framed language. It is argued that examination of language use in discourse can provide insights for solving nutty problems that may not be resolved by merely looking at static linguistic structures.
  • Attitudes toward accents of Mandarin in Singapore
    • Authors: Rachael Hui-Hui Chong, and Ying-Ying Tan
    • Source: Chinese Language and Discourse, Volume 4, Issue 1, 2013, pages: 120 –140
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    • Like many other countries, Singapore has seen some public tension fermenting over what is sometimes perceived as the government’s generous open-door immigration policy. Some Singaporeans appear to have taken to regarding themselves as rightful “natives” by distinguishing between local and foreign accents (see Jacobs 2012; Oon 2012). With a sizeable number of foreigners hailing from China, do Singaporeans have negative attitudes toward non-local Chinese accents because of these ‘anti-foreigner’ sentiments? This paper examines the language attitudes of Chinese Singaporeans towards speakers of Mandarin from three locales: Beijing, Taiwan and Singapore. It describes an attitudinal test using the verbal guise technique, comparing the attitudes of 100 Singaporean Chinese youths toward the Beijing, Taiwanese and Singaporean accents of Mandarin along the dimensions of prestige and solidarity. This study shows that there are distinct differences in the ways in which the three accents are perceived by Singaporeans. However, contrary to expectations, the foreign accents are not discriminated against, but are in fact ranked more favourably as compared to the local accent. Ultimately, functionality and economic goals of advancement seem to override other socio-cultural aims of the nation as Singaporeans focus on the prestige that the foreign Chinese accents can bring them.
  • Language and society in Macao: A review of sociolinguistic studies on Macao in the past three decades
    • Authors: Xi Yan, and Andrew Moody
    • Source: Chinese Language and Discourse, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2010, pages: 293 –324
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    • The present study attempts to comprehensively review the sociolinguistic literature on Macao from the past three decades by focusing on four key research themes found in previous studies: (1) languages, dialects and specialized languages, (2) language contact, (3) language attitudes and identity construction and (4) language planning and language policy. By presenting a fuller picture of previous studies of language and society in Macao it is argued that the sociolinguistic situation of Macao should not be overlooked in the study of Chinese sociolinguistics.
  • Traversativity and grammaticalization: The aktionsart of 过 guo as a lexical source of evidentiality
    • Author: Vittorio Tantucci
    • Source: Chinese Language and Discourse, Volume 6, Issue 1, 2015, pages: 57 –100
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    • This paper discusses the new aktionsart of traversativity, here defined as the category marking the phase of ‘getting-through’ an event or a situation. Different from completives and resultatives (cf. Bybee et al. 1994), traversatives do not profile a phasal contiguity with the telos of a situation, and thus detach the actionality of the event from a subsequent resultant phase. This entails that, along a perfective cline of change, the aktionsart of traversatives triggers aspectual discontinuity or anti-resultativity (cf. Plungian & van der Auwera 2006). Drawing on this, the present work focuses on the grammaticalization of the traversative particle 过 guò in Mandarin Chinese towards experiential perfect (cf. Cao 1995, Lin 2004, Liu 2009) and interpersonal evidential (IE) usages (cf. Tantucci 2013, 2014a, 2014b). I argue that the experiential and evidential reanalyses V-过 guò are semantically and pragmatically prompted by the original traversative aktionsart of the particle 过 guò. I further discuss this phenomenon through a quantitative and qualitative corpus analysis shedding light on the correspondence between specific written genres and the synchronic employment of V-过 guò either as a phasal, an experiential or an interpersonal evidential (IE) marker. Finally, I suggest that actional discontinuity or anti-resultativity constitutes a productive semantic-pragmatic trigger of further evidential reanalyses of a construction.
  • Conversation, grammar, and fixedness: Adjectives in Mandarin revisited
    • Authors: Sandra A. Thompson, and Hongyin Tao
    • Source: Chinese Language and Discourse, Volume 1, Issue 1, 2010, pages: 3 –30
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    • The categoriality of ‘adjectives’ has been a favorite topic of discussion in functional Chinese linguistics. However, the literature leaves us with no clear picture of the ‘adjective’ category for Mandarin. In this paper, we take a usage-based approach to revisit the issue of adjectives in Mandarin. Our investigation of a corpus of face-to-face conversations shows that conversational Mandarin favors Predicate Adjectives over Attributive Adjectives. This pattern is explained by two facts: people primarily use Predicate Adjectives in conversation to assess the world around them, and these assessments (including reactive tokens) are a primary way for people to negotiate stance, alignment, and perspective, while Attributive Adjectives are used to introduce new participants into the discourse, which is a less prominent function in everyday conversation. We also argue that whether predicative or attributive, an understanding of adjectives in everyday Mandarin talk involves various facets of fixedness. This is substantiated by the fact that predicate vs. attributive positions attract different types of adjectives, kinds of collocation patterns, kinds of constructions, and pathways to lexicalization. Thus, this paper demonstrates that (1) interactional data can tell us much about the ‘psychological reality’ of the category ‘adjective’ for speakers; and (2) frequency and ongoing prefab creation are crucial to characterizing the categoriality and mental representation of ‘adjectives’ in Mandarin.
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