Insertion as a Self-Repair Device and its Interactional Motivations in Chinese Conversation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

6 Scopus Citations
View graph of relations


  • Kang Kwong LUKE
  • Wei ZHANG


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153 - 182
Journal / PublicationChinese Language and Discourse
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Conversational repair has been studied for its organizational features, relationship with syntax, and interactional functions. This paper focuses on one particular type of same-turn self-repair, namely, insertions. Examining in detail a collection of insertions culled from a corpus of naturally occurring conversational data in Mandarin Chinese, an investigation has been carried out on the forms and functions of insertions in their sequential contexts. In terms of form and organization, two kinds of insertion are identified: local and global. ‘Local’ insertions operate on trouble-sources located within NPs, VPs, and sentences, achieving in most cases the modification of a reference or a predication. ‘Global’ insertions tend to be used to supplement a narrative with background information designed to make the point of the narrative more readily understood or better appreciated by the recipient. An in-depth analysis of insertions in their situational and sequential contexts reveals a vaiety of interactional motivations, including facilitating the recognizability of references, doing alignment and identity work, contributing to the construction of accounts, and providing backgrouding information in the delivery of narratives.

Research Area(s)

  • Conversation Analysis, conversational repair, self-repair, insertion, interactional function, Mandarin