Guiding assertions and questions in discourse

Mandarin dique and zhende
  • Mengxi YuanEmail author
  • Yurie Hara


This paper explores how discourse markers contribute to the update of discourse through a detailed study of Mandarin dique ‘indeed’ and zhende ‘really’. On the basis of empirical data and a naturalness rating experiment, we show that dique and zhende make similar yet different contributions to discourse updates. Dique presupposes that its prejacent issue is old, while zhende presupposes that its prejacent issue is old and that some discourse participant has failed to resolve this issue. Furthermore, dique and zhende can embed both assertions and questions. This supports Farkas and Bruce’s (2010) Table stack model, which provides a uniform treatment for assertions and questions.


Speech acts Discourse structure Common Ground Table stack Presupposition Mandarin 



We are sincerely grateful to the editors and three anonymous reviewers whose feedback on earlier versions has tremendously helped improve this paper. Special thanks are also due to Satoshi Tomioka and Stefan Kaufmann, who introduced us to Farkas and Bruce’s (2010) framework. We are also grateful to Christopher Davis, Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine, Magdalena Kaufmann, Paul S. Law, Po Lun Lee Peppina, Elin McCready, Haihua Pan, Kyle Rawlins, Uli Sauerland and Grégoire Winterstein for their constructive criticism and valuable comments. This research was supported by the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (Grant number 17JNQN007) awarded to Mengxi Yuan and JSPS KAKENHI (C) Grant Number 18K00589 awarded to Yurie Hara.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jinan UniversitySchool of HumanitiesZhuhai CityChina
  2. 2.Waseda UniversityFaculty of Science and EngineeringTokyoJapan

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