|Author(s)||Ruey-Jiuan Regina Wu|
|Title||Indexing epistemic authority/primacy in Mandarin conversation: aiyou-prefacing as an interactional resource|
|Tag(s)||Conversation analysis, EMCA, Epistemic, Interjection, Mandarin Chinese, Particle, Stance|
|Journal||Journal of Pragmatics|
Drawing on 35 hours of spontaneous conversations collected in China, this study aims to contribute to the ongoing dialogue about how epistemic positions are asserted and contested in social interaction. Specifically, this article focuses on Mandarin aiyou-prefacing, and examines a hitherto unexplored interactional use of aiyou: when aiyou prefaces responsive actions in the context of disagreement or contestation. I show that in the context of disagreement, by prefacing a responding turn with aiyou, the speaker alerts the recipient to a heightened newsworthiness associated with the information that will follow, while simultaneously introducing speaker-side evidence that was previously inaccessible to the recipient. In the context in which aiyou prefaces a contesting counterinforming, the speaker, while not explicitly disagreeing with the recipient's prior claim, counteracts the claim by providing a more nuanced understanding of the matter at issue; in this context, aiyou-prefacing often figures in competitive co-informing when the party who goes second has equal or even greater knowledge about the matter under discussion. I argue that together with the constellation of features that accompany its use, the aiyou-preface in both contexts indexes a claim of epistemic authority and/or primacy over the matter at hand.