Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Mandarin Chinese zhishi (similar to English ‘only’), comprised of the adverb zhi and the copula shi, can act as an adverb (ADV) or a discourse marker (DM). This study analyzes the role of zhishi in spoken discourse, based on the methodological and theoretical principles of interactional linguistics and conversation analysis. The corpus used in this study consists of three sets of data: 1) naturally-occurring daily conversations; 2) radio/TV interviews; and 3) TV panel discussions on current political affairs. As a whole, this study reveals that the notions of restrictiveness, exclusivity, and adversativity are closely associated with ADV zhishi and DM zhishi. In addition, the present data show that since zhishi is often used to express a ‘less than expected’ feeling, it can be used to indicate mirativity (i.e. language indicating that an utterance conveys the speaker’s surprise). The data also show that the distribution of zhishi as an adverb or discourse marker depends on turn taking systems and speech situations in spoken discourse. Specifically, the ADV zhishi tends to occur in radio/TV interviews and TV panel news discussions, while the DM zhishi occurs more often in casual conversations.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): contrastive discourse marker; discourse mode; mirativity; restrictiveness; turn-taking
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error