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Title: Linguistic Features in Mandarin Chinese as Feminine Markers in Informal Communication


Zajdler, Ewa ; Naruszewicz, Agata

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Instytut Języka Polskiego Polskiej Akademii Nauk

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The paper deals with a correlation between the linguistic features of Mandarin Chinese and the language activities of young female participants in a television show broadcast on the Internet. The women’s sociolect and the characteristics of the sajiao style are analysed on the basis of their 1802 informal utterances recorded on the show. The paper explores the way in which lexical and phonetic features express femininity and contribute to the women’s persuasive talk. The formal markers of the language used by female native speakers communicate politeness, emotions and gentleness and at the same time acknowledge their position of subordination within society. The study begins with an introduction into the pragmatics of culture-driven language activity and moves on to outline the current knowledge of the peculiarities of the Chinese language used by Chinese women. Drawing on earlier discussions, a compilation of linguistic features is employed as an analytical tool. The particular words and expressions as well as pronunciation features are discussed. Not all linguistic features of Mandarin Chinese discussed in previous studies are confirmed in the utterances under study. Those which add significant expressive meaning and gentleness into an utterance dominate in the study over the sajiao style, the phonetic and prosodic features typical for a babyish form of persuasion. As evidenced by a quantitative and qualitative analysis, the utterances in question abound in emotions, in wavering opinions that put the speaker in a position inferior to that of the addressee, and in instances of speaking in a manner typical of children.


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