Absent appreciation in Mandarin Chinese interaction


  • Hongyan Liang Shanxi University






When receiving something beneficial, interlocutors are expected to express their appreciation in the second pair part (SPP) or the sequence-closing third position with linguistic resources such as ‘thanks’ and ‘thank you’, thus forming an adjency pair or a complete sequence. However, under some circumstances, relevant or appropriate appreciation is expected but does not appear. Adopting conversation analysis as the research methodology, this article examines the absence of appreciation in ordinary Mandarin interactions where gratitude and appreciation are often socially prescribed. Its sequential analysis of talks demonstrates that at times a verbal appreciative response in situations such as offering and requesting does not occur until a later conversational turn rather than in the preferred second pair part, whereas at other times the social action, although expected, is actually absent in social interaction. The analysis of the data shows that when interlocutors transgress the normative expectation of appreciation, the expected pattern of action and interactional organisation will be evidenced circumstantially within the ongoing interaction itself. The present study proves that deviations from standard forms in the interactional organisation can give rise to additional accounts or other visible interactional behaviour.

Author Biography

Hongyan Liang, Shanxi University

Hongyan Liang is an associate professor at the School of Journalism and Communication, Shanxi University, China. She attained her PhD in English Language and Literature from Sun Yat-sen University, China, and she studied conversation analysis as a visiting scholar at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Her research interests are conversation analysis, discourse analysis, and intercultural communication.


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How to Cite

Liang, H. (2021). Absent appreciation in Mandarin Chinese interaction. East Asian Pragmatics, 6(2), 231–257. https://doi.org/10.1558/eap.20331