Utterance - final particles in Taiwan Mandarin : Contact , context , and core functions Chin - hui Lin The use of utterance - final particles is a salient feature of Taiwan Mandarin , a Mandarin variety spoken in Taiwan . Despite their widespread use , Taiwan Mandarin utterance - final particles have not attracted much attention in previous research . One reason for this neglect is that previous studies focus on utterance - final particles that can be found in all Mandarin varieties and take the general validity of the findings for granted . By contrast , this study explores regional variation in the use of utterance - final particles . Analyzing spoken Taiwan Mandarin data recorded from spontaneous conversations , it focuses on the three particles a , la and Ãª . It examines the core function of these particles in the interaction between the participants in various types of conversational contexts . Besides determining their core - function , this study looks into the differences with respect to utterance - final particles between Taiwan Mandarin and in the Mandarin spoken in mainland China . The properties that are specific to Taiwan Mandarin are analyzed as resulting from long - term contact with different Sinitic varieties , especially Southern MÇn and JiÄng - HuÃ¡i Mandarin . Hypotheses about language contact influence on the use of Taiwan Mandarin utterance - final particles are tested using actual language data , and discussed against the historical background of migration of Mandarin speakers to Taiwan in the 20th century .