Journal directory listing - Volume 43 Number 2 (1998/October) - Humanities & Social Sciences【43(2)】

The Conversational Use of Reactive Tokens in Taiwanese Author: Chen, Chiou-mei (English Department, National Taiwan Normal University), Lee, Shih-wen (English Department, National Taiwan Normal University)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 43, No. 2
Date:October 1998


This study investigates the conversational use of reactive tokens (RTs) in Taiwanese. The data consist of a two-hour recording of radio call-in programs. There are altogether 4517 utterances transcribed, with 52 speakers involved, 48 of them being male. The framework is based on Clancy et al.'s study (1996). In the coruse of classification, however, some of their definitions of RTs are shown to be problematic. First, Taiwanese RTs are not necessarily "continuers" because 29% of them are followed by extended talk by the same speaker. Second, RTs are not necessarily affirmative in nature. In some contexts, discoursal negatives (e.g. 'boe7' & 'bo5') also qualify as RTs. Third, the location of an RT candidate seems to outweigh its semantic meaning. Fourth, following their definitions strictly would lead to a rather serious conflict between form and function. Further clarification is hence required. The results are as follows. The presence of RTs in Taiwanese telephone conversation is indeed massive. An RT occurs every 3.83 IUs. When deprived of visual aids, Taiwanese speakers are in fact, far more verbally active in giving interactional support. Next, the RT use is observed to be affected by channel of communication, degree of familiarity or formality, the topic, the interactants' communicative intentions and skills of turn management, and personal styles. The tendency to place RTs at transition relevance places is clear. 93% of them appear after pragmatic completion points. Moreover, the distribution is somehow related to such interactional devices as utterance-final particles and tag/confirmation questions. Last, the vast majority of the 334 non-floor-supporting RTs occur affter possible global pragmatic completion points.

Keywords:Reactive Tokens, Transition Relevance Places, Pragmatic Completion Points, Grammar and Interaction

《Full Text》

APA FormatChen, C.-M., & Lee, S.-W. (1998). The Conversational Use of Reactive Tokens in Taiwanese. Journal of National Taiwan Normal University: Humanities & Social Science, 43(2), 37-55.