|Title||Preliminaries to delicate matters: Some functions of “I say to you” sequences in Mandarin Chinese conversations|
|Editor(s)||Yun Xiao, Linda Tsung|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Mandarin, Interactional linguistics, Prefaces, Metalanguage|
|Book title||Current Studies in Chinese Language and Discourse: Global context and diverse perspectives|
The meta-language unit “I say to you” is frequently heard in Mandarin Chinese conversations, and are most commonly expressed as wo gen ni shuo ‘I say to you’, wo gen ni jiang ‘I talk to you’, or wo gaosu ni ‘I tell you’, collectively termed “I-say-to-you” expressions. Quantitative investigations reveal that they are dedicated interactional resources found only in spoken conversation. By using conversation analytic methodology, further examination of their sequential trajectory shows that a core function of “I-say-to-you” expressions is to preface upcoming “delicate” matters, such as dispreferred next action, disagreement or disaffiliative turn, and other actions that may be resistance-implicative for the recipient. As a preface, “I-say-to-you” expressions can be used by the speaker to secure multi-turns space with which to gradually deliver the “delicate” matter and achieve other interactional goals.