A discursive pragmatic approach to the third person pronoun ta in Chinese computermediated communication
Keywords:non-standard spelling, sina weibo, chinese social media, rhetorical move analysis, ta, third person pronoun, pragmatics
This study examines the persuasive discourse of institutional accounts on Sina Weibo which contains the genderless non-standard third person pronoun ta written in the Roman alphabet instead of standard Chinese characters. Mandarin Chinese originally used the single character ? (ta) to refer to the third person ‘he', ‘she', and ‘it', which later gave way to three separate written ‘standard' forms: ta ? ‘he', ta ? ‘she', and ta ? ‘it' all with the same pronunciation. From a discourse analysis perspective, the study incorporates the ‘three-move structure' textual analysis methodology to shed light on both contemporary language use and one of the most under-studied interpersonal dialogic practices in Chinese computer-mediated communication: ta. The research shows that the environments in which ta appears are associated with two main goals: (1) generating monetary profit and (2) generating engagement with services/ideologies.
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