Mitigation Strategies in Semi-structured Oral Chinese Interviews




Chinese language, linguistic mitigation, linguistic resources, discursive strategies, pragmatics choice


This paper identifies and accounts for mitigation strategies in a corpus of language that attempts to reflect the communicative style of Chinese speakers in semi-structured oral interviews. Thus, the analysis was carried out on the informal conversations of the C-ORAL-CHINA corpus. Mitigating resources were classified and grouped into seven general procedures that constitute different strategic mechanisms with which mitigation is carried out. Regarding the strategic mechanisms through which mitigation was carried out in these semi-structured oral Chinese interviews, the most common strategies were the following: the use of resources that downgrade what has been said or done, the use of resources that involve the addressee in what has been said or done, and the use of resources that limit or restrict what has been said or done. Conversely, the strategies of correcting or repairing what has been said, justifying, and defocalizing had the lowest frequency of use.


Download data is not yet available.


Albelda Marco, M., Briz Gómez, A., Cestero Mancera, A., Kotwica, D., & Villalba Ibánez, C. (2014). Ficha metodológica para el análisis pragmático de la atenuación en corpus discursivos del español. (ES.POR.ATENUACIÓN) (Methodological datasheet for the pragmatic analysis of mitigation in Spanish discourse corpora. (ES.POR.MITIGATION)). Oralia, 17, 7–62. https://DOI: 10.25115/oralia.v17i.7999 DOI:

Albelda Marco, M., & Briz Gómez, A. (2020). Atenuación e intensificación (Mitigation and intensification). In Mª V. Escandell-Vidal, J. Amenós-Pons, & A. Kathleen Ahern (coord.), Pragmática (Pragmatics) (pp. 567–590). Madrid: Akal. AKAL, Madrid.

Alleton, V. (1988). The so-called “rhetorical interrogation” Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 16 (2), 278-297.

Blum-Kulka, S., House, J., & Kasper, G. (eds.) (1989). Cross-cultural pragmatics: Requests and apologies. Norwood (NJ): Ablex Publishing.

Caffi, C. (2007). Mitigation. Amsterdam: Elsevier. DOI:

Cestero Mancera, A. M. (1999). La risa en conversación (Laughter in conversation). In J. A. Samper, & M. Troya (coords.), Actas del XI Congreso Internacional de la Asociación de Lingüística y Filología de la América Latina (Proceedings of the XI International Congress of the Association of Latin American Linguistics and Philology), I (pp. 599-608). Las Palmas de Gran Canaria: Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Cestero Mancera, A. M. (2020). Uses and resources of mitigation, in contrast. Spanish in Context, 17 (2), 362-383. DOI:

Cestero Mancera, A. M., & Albelda Marco, M. (2020). Estudio de variación en el uso de atenuación I: Hacia una descripción de patrones dialectales y sociolectales de la atenuación en español (Study of variation in the use of mitigation I: Towards a description of dialectal and sociolectal patterns of mitigation in Spanish). Revista signos (Signs journal), 53, 935-961. DOI:

Cestero Mancera, A. M., & Albelda Marco, M. (forthcoming). La atenuación en español: patrones sociolingüísticos y geolectales. Hacia un mapa de la atenuación en español (Mitigation in Spanish: sociolinguistic and geolectal patterns. Towards a map of mitigation in Spanish). Círculo de Lingüística Aplicada a la Comunicación.

Chen Guo-Ming (2011). An introduction to key concepts in understanding the Chinese: Harmony as the foundation of Chinese communication. China Media Research 7(4), 1-12.

Chen Guo-Ming, & Ma Ringo (2002). Chinese conflict management and resolution. EEUU: Greenwood.

Dong Yang (2011). Compilación de un corpus de habla espontánea de chino "putonghua" para su aplicación en la enseñanza como lengua segunda a hispanohablantes (Compilation of a "putonghua" Chinese spontaneous speech corpus for use in teaching Spanish as a second language to Spanish speakers). Madrid: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. PhD thesis. Retrieved from

Du Jinwen S. (1995). Performance of face-threatening acts in Chinese: Complaining, giving bad news, and disagreeing. In G. Kasper (Ed.), Pragmatics of Chinese as a native and target language (165–206). Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaii Press.

Fang Hongmei, & Hengeveld, Kees (2020). A mitigator in Mandarin: The sentence-final particle ba (吧). Open Linguistics, 6, 284-306. DOI:

Figueras Bates, C. (2020). Mitigation in discourse: Social, cognitive and affective. motivations when exchanging advice. Journal of Pragmatics, 173, 119-133. DOI:

Fraser, B. (1980). Conversational mitigation. Journal of pragmatics, 4(4), 341-350. DOI:

Gao, G., & Ting-Toomey, S. (1998). Communicating effectively with the Chinese. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications. DOI:

Han Yang (1988). A pragmatic study of some sentence-final and post-verbal particles in Mandarin Chinese. York: University of York. PhD thesis. Retrieved from

Holmes, J. (1984). Modifying illocutionary force. Journal of pragmatics, 8 (3), 345-365. DOI:

Hsin Ai-li C. (2016). An analysis of Chinese tag questions with a cross-linguistic comparison to English tags. Taiwan Journal of Linguistics, 14, 69-119.

Jiang Xiangping (2012). A pragmatic analysis of V+ yixia in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Pragmatics, 44(13), 1888–1901. DOI:

Kendrick, K. (2018). Adjusting epistemic gradients: The final particle ba in Mandarin Chinese conversation. East Asian Pragmatics, 3 (1), 5-26. DOI:

Kotwica, D. (2020). Mitigation and reinforcement in general knowledge expressions. Journal of Pragmatics, 169, 219-230 DOI:

Lakoff, G. (1972). Hedges: A study in meaning criteria and the logic of fuzzy concepts. In P. Peranteau, J. N. Levi, & G. Phares (Eds.), Papers from the 8th Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society (pp. 183-228). Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.

Li, Ch., & Thompson, S. (1989). Mandarin Chinese: A functional reference grammar. California: University of California Press.

Li Xinghua (2016). Aspectos contrastivos de los actos de habla de petición en chino y en español (Contrastive aspects of Chinese and Spanish request speech acts). Valladolid: Universidad de Valladolid. PhD thesis. Retrieved from

Lim Ni-Eng (2011). From subjectivity to intersubjectivity: Epistemic marker wo juede in Chinese. In Yun Xiao, Tao Liang, & Hooi Ling Soh (Eds.), Current issues in Chinese linguistics (pp. 265-300), Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.

Lin Chih Ying, Woodfield, H., & Ren Wei (2012). Compliments in Taiwan and Mainland Chinese: The influence of region and compliment topic. Journal of Pragmatics, 44(11), 1486-1502. DOI:

Ma Ringo (1996). Saying “yes” for “no” and “no” for “yes”: Chinese rule. Journal of Pragmatics, 25, 257‐266. DOI:

Overstreet, M. (2011). Vagueness and hedging. In Gisle Andersen & Karin Aijmer (ed.), Pragmatics of Society (pp. 293-318). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. DOI:

Pan Yuling (2000). Politeness in Chinese Face to Face Interaction. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Pan Yulin, & Kádar, D. Z. (2012). Politeness in historical and contemporary Chinese. London: Continuum.

PRESEEA (2014-): Corpus del Proyecto para el estudio sociolingüístico del español de España y de América (Corpus of the Project for the sociolinguistic study of Spanish in Spain and America). Alcalá de Henares: Universidad de Alcalá, Retrieved from

Querol-Bataller, M. (2022). Research on mitigation in the Chinese language. East Asian Pragmatics, 7(1), 97-121. DOI:

Ren Wei, Lin Chih-Ying, & Woodfield, H. (2013). Variational pragmatics in Chinese: Some insights from an empirical study. In I. Kecskes, & J. Romero Trillo (Ed.), Research trends in intercultural pragmatics (pp. 283-314). Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter. DOI:

Ren Wei (2015). Sociopragmatic variation in Mainland and Taiwan Chinese refusals. In Researching sociopragmatic variability (72–93). London: Palgrave Macmillan. DOI:




How to Cite

Querol-Bataller, M. (2023). Mitigation Strategies in Semi-structured Oral Chinese Interviews. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 13(1), 73–90.



Research articles