Utterance-final particles in Taiwan Mandarin: Contact, context and core functions
This study explores regional variation in the use of utterance-final particles by analyzing spoken Taiwan Mandarin data recorded from spontaneous conversations.
The use of utterance-final particles is a salient feature of Taiwan Mandarin, a Mandarin variety spoken in Taiwan. Despite their widespread use, Taiwan Mandarin utterance-final particles have not attracted much attention in previous research. One reason for this neglect is that previous studies focus on utterance-final particles that can be found in all Mandarin varieties and take the general validity of the findings for granted.
By contrast, this study explores regional variation in the use of utterance-final particles. Analyzing spoken Taiwan Mandarin data recorded from spontaneous conversations, it focuses on the three particles a, la and ê. It examines the core function of these particles in the interaction between the participants in various types of conversational contexts.
Besides determining their core-function, this study looks into the differences with respect to utterance-final particles between Taiwan Mandarin and in the Mandarin spoken in mainland China. The properties that are specific to Taiwan Mandarin are analyzed as resulting from long-term contact with different Sinitic varieties, especially Southern Mǐn and Jiāng-Huái Mandarin. Hypotheses about language contact influence on the use of Taiwan Mandarin utterance-final particles are tested using actual language data, and discussed against the historical background of migration of Mandarin speakers to Taiwan in the 20th century.
Promotores: L.L.S. Cheng, R.P.E. Sybesma