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ERIC Number: EJ874053
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Nov
Pages: 35
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0388-0001
Beyond Negation--The Roles of "Meiyou" and "Bushi" in Mandarin Conversation
Wang, Yu-Fang
Language Sciences, v30 n6 p679-713 Nov 2008
This paper focuses on the negative markers "meiyou" and "bushi" (meaning "not/no") in Mandarin conversation and, in particular, on their idiosyncratic use in spoken discourse. In this study, through close observation of actual conversation, I found that "meiyou" and "bushi" serve more functions than simply that of a response token "no" to a question, and I identified their extra linguistic functions beyond negation. I explored their function in the light of Halliday's [Halliday, M.A.K., 1994. An Introduction to Functional Grammar. Edward Arnold, London] theory of three metafunctions of language, viz. the propositional, textual, and interpersonal functions. Cognitive and social principles, that is, Sperber and Wilson's [Sperber, Dan, Wilson, Deirdre, 1986. Relevance: Communication and Cognition. Blackwell, Oxford] theory of relevance and Brown and Levinson's [Brown, Penelope, Levinson, Stephen C., 1987. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Use. Cambridge University Press] politeness principle were applied as well, particularly to the textual and interpersonal functions. In particular, I observed from my data that, in Taiwan, Mandarin "meiyou" tends to be used to preface non-agreement and "bushi", disagreement. Both of them are markers of a dispreferred second part in the adjacency relationship. This study suggests that "bushi" is basically a monosemous marker of denial; it retains the meaning of negation, conveys explicit negation in interaction, and encodes the speaker's attitudes toward the communicative world of the speech event; i.e., it is less referential (that is, focusing on the referential content of the message) and more expressive/subjective (that is, focusing on the speaker's beliefs or attitudes toward the event). "Meiyou", on the other hand, is polysemous and is undergoing grammaticalization through the semantic-pragmatic recruitment of both subjectivity (to express and regulate beliefs, attitudes, etc.) and intersubjectivity (to make explicit the speaker's attitude to what is being said). (Contains 2 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Taiwan