Research Article

Mandarin Chinese Emphatic Operator in Denial: A Functional Discourse Grammar Analysis


  • Yassine Khaya Ibn Tofail University, English Department, Kenitra Morocco


This study explores the unique linguistic mechanisms of Mandarin Chinese, a tonal language, in expressing illocutionary acts, specifically focusing on the act of denial. Central to our investigation is the specialized use of the particle "并" (bīng), which is posited to add emphasis in negation contexts, akin to the emphatic role of words like "actually" or "in fact" in English. Through the lens of Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG), this research examines how Mandarin Chinese leverages lexical items, such as "并" (bīng), over prosodic features like pitch and tone, to convey pragmatic emphasis. Our findings indicate that "并" (bīng) functions almost exclusively to strengthen denial, particularly in formal or written Mandarin, without carrying significant semantic content on its own. This specialized use underscores the adaptive strategies of tonal languages in maintaining clear lexical distinction while expressing nuanced illocutionary force. Additionally, the study highlights the limited pitch range available for intonation in tonal languages due to the necessity of distinguishing lexical tones, which further motivates the reliance on lexical means for expressing emphasis. This study contributes to the broader understanding of linguistic expression in tonal versus non-tonal languages and opens avenues for further research into the complex dynamics of language pragmatics.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

7 (4)





How to Cite

Khaya, Y. (2024). Mandarin Chinese Emphatic Operator in Denial: A Functional Discourse Grammar Analysis. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 7(4), 10–14.



Mandarin Chinese, Illocutionary acts, Negation emphasis, Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG), Tonal languages, Phonology and semantics