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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.
  • Apology strategies between social unequals in The Dream of the Red Chamber
    • Authors: Lan Chun, and Zhao Yun
    • Source: Chinese Language and Discourse, Volume 1, Issue 2, 2010, pages: 264 –292
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    • This is a study of apology strategies deployed by social unequals in The Dream of the Red Chamber. It is found that, among the eleven instances of apologies collected from the novel, four variables together determine one’s choices of apology strategies, i.e. the social distance between the apologizer and the apologizee, their power relationship, the seriousness of the offence which leads to the apology, and the degree of the right the apologizer is assumed to have in apologizing. The lower-status apologizers typically adopted the self-degeneration and other-elevation strategies and spoke up to the higher-status victims, while the higher-status apologizers typically gave priority to protecting their own faces and spoke down to the lower-status victims in combining different strategies. The apologies from the lower-status servant apologizers were rarely accepted while those from the higher-status apologizers were often accepted on the spot. On the whole, the higher-status participants enjoyed more freedom in choosing which apology strategy to adopt than the lower-status participants.
  • 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.
  • Deviant writing and youth identity: Representation of dialects with Chinese characters on the internet
    • Author: Jin Liu
    • Source: Chinese Language and Discourse, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2011, pages: 58 –79
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    • This paper examines the emergence of the representation of dialect with Chinese characters (fangyan wenzihua) on the Internet. The online dialect writing is primarily identified as a subject of Internet language and youth language study. The CMC discourse as a hybrid register mixing spoken and written language features facilitates the written use of oral dialect on the Internet. Deviating from the standard Chinese writing system, the Internet-savvy youth transcribe their native dialects on an ad hoc basis, which celebrates multiplicity, creativity, individuality and resists uniformity, standardization, and institutionalization. Taking the SHN website ( as a case study, the paper discusses how the written Shanghai Wu words are explored to mark a distinct visual style and to articulate a distinct local youth identity. Furthermore, this paper examines the dominant strategy of phonetic borrowing in dialect transcription on the Internet. It is argued that diachronically, the youth’s phonocentric obsession tapped into the May Fourth tradition of the baihua vernacular movement that was heavily influenced by the European logocentrism; and synchronically, the celebration of dialect sound on the Internet echoes the contemporary soundscape of local dialects formed in the mass media in recent years.
  • 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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