Increments in Mandarin Chinese

Emergent Units in Action

Ni-Eng (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) Lim

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Geisteswissenschaften, Kunst, Musik / Allgemeine und Vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft


Looking at everyday Mandarin Chinese conversations, this book provides a comprehensive examination of the practices used in producing Chinese increments.

Increments have been identified as a key nexus that evinces how human interactional practices are fundamental to the structuration of grammar. Lim examines the common interactional work these increments do in their sequential context and what implications these findings have for our understanding of language and grammar. Based on the examination of actual interactional practices by Chinese speakers, findings show that all types of grammatically fitted and unfitted increments can be produced in a situated context. The research in this book also demonstrates how similar action can be pursued using different types of increments and that more than one “task” or action may be concurrently and subtly accomplished with the use of a single increment. The results indicate how the regular everyday practices of Chinese increment, formulated in moment-to-moment interaction, instantiate and endorse multiple principles expounded in emergent grammar, thereby adding to our wider understanding of language and grammar.

This book will primarily interest researchers, graduate students, and educators working within the field of interactional linguistics and conversation analysis, in particular those in Chinese-speaking regions. As research on non-English data is still very limited in these areas, the book will also be useful for researchers with broad interests in the Chinese language.

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