Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Semantics,vocabulary, word meaning ( exegesis ) > Modern vocabulary

A Study of Discourse Markers in Chinese Conflict Talk

Author WangMiaoMiao
Tutor KangGuangMing
School Shandong Agricultural University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords discourse markers Chinese conflict talk the adaptation theory
CLC H136
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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When people participate in social activities, they frequently encounter conflict talk.Using discourse markers is a way of participating in conflict talk. People also have ways ofco-participating in conversation. One way of co-participating with an interlocutor who hasjust made a disagreement or dispute is by adapting to the linguistic, contextual and othersocial factors in a conversation. And the interpreter can agree or disagree with the utterer.Some scholars (Levinson,1983; Pomerantz,1984) hold that agreements and disagreementsare routinely performed in distinctive ways. To be specific, agreements are usually givenclearly and without delay, while conflict talks are often characterized by hesitation and/ordiscourse markers. Despite many studies which have investigated the functions of Mandarindiscourse markers such as hao (ok), a (a), name, ranhou, zhege, and nage, the latter four ofwhich are parallel to English in that way, then, or however, and their core meanings, few havetaken a quantitative approach, and even fewer have looked into the use of the discoursemarkers in specific day-to-day communication. The characteristic usage of discourse markersmight be conditioned by discourse modes. For instance, conflict talk may have an impact onthe linguistic choice, distribution and functions of discourse markers. Based on this, thepresent study, using the theoretical framework of Adaptation Theory (Verschueren,1987&1999), attempts to examine the linguistic choices, distributions and functions of discoursemarkers in conflict talk. The database for this thesis consists of video and audio recordings ofnaturally occurring social interactions in private and institutional settings. Hence, the presentstudy addresses two broad research questions:(1) What are the DMs which occur often inconflict talk in spoken Chinese? And how do they distribute in conflict talk?(2) How do thediscourse markers adapt to the linguistic variability and negotiate to the dynamic contextualfactor in order to generate meaning and maintain the conflict talk? In order to answer thesetwo questions,27day-to-day conflict conversations were collected for analysis.This thesis is composed of six chapters.Chapter one is a general introduction to the whole research, which describes thebackground of the study on discourse markers, introduces the purposes of the study, and laysout the overall structure of this thesis.Chapter two is a review of literature. It begins with the introduction of discourse markersin terms of different definitions, characteristics, functions and properties of discourse markers.Then an overview of the previous studies on discourse markers both at home and abroad isprovided. Chapter three introduces the theoretical framework of this thesis, the adaptation theory indetail.Chapter four deals with the methodology of the thesis in which the working definitionand the way to choose discourse markers are presented at first. Then the methodology of datacollection and record transcription is described.Chapter five presents and discusses the results of the research on the use of the discoursemarkers in Chinese conflict talk. It begins with the distribution of discourse markers, and thenmoves to an analysis of the linguistic properties of discourse markers. Finally, the functions ofdiscourse markers are discussed in detail based on the adaptation theory.Chapter six is the concluding part in which a brief summary of the study is stated. Itsummarizes the major findings and limitations of the study and proposes some suggestions forfurther research.

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