Questions and responses in Dutch conversations

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Based on an analysis of 350 questions and their responses in a corpus of ordinary interactions, this paper gives a descriptive overview of the ways Dutch interactants formulate their utterances to make them recognizable as doing questioning and the options they rely on to respond to these questions. I describe the formal options for formulating questions and responses in Dutch and the range of social actions (e.g. requests for information, requests for confirmation) that are implemented through questions in the corpus. Finally, I focus on answer design and discuss some of the coherence relations between questions, answers, and social actions. Questions that are asked to elicit information are associated with the more prototypical, lexico-morpho-syntactically defined question type such as polar interrogatives and, mainly, content questions. Most polar questions with declarative syntax are not primarily concerned with obtaining information but with doing other kinds of social actions. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2666 - 2684
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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