The pragmatics of conducive questions in academic discourse

Piazza, Roberta (2002) The pragmatics of conducive questions in academic discourse. Journal of Pragmatics, 34 (5). pp. 509-527. ISSN 0378-2166

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This paper deals with the conducive questions asked by tutors and students who try to convey their preference for a given answer from their hearer/s. In interpreting such questions, textual and contextual elements play a crucial role; in fact the view proposed here is that, beyond the level of formal conduciveness inherent in such questions, conduciveness is really the result of the overall stream of conversation and can only be adequately analysed in pragmatic terms. The paper expands and develops a prior model for the analysis of conducive questions which hinges on the concept of the polarity that exists between a questioner's old belief underlying the question, the new assumption s/he formulates in his/her mind, the expected answer and the formal aspect of the question itself. Some classes of conducive questions are defined which express different degrees of conduciveness and convey different discourse functions. The study can also bear some practical relevance for international students as it offers an insight into an aspect of the academic discourse produced within university seminars in England and, to a lesser extent, Italy and sheds light on some of the effects of the asymmetry inherent in the tutor-students role.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Roberta Piazza
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:49
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2012 14:19
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