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Questions as indirect speech acts in surprise contexts

Abstract : This chapter offers an analysis of two types of interrogatives used as indirect speech acts in surprise contexts in English – unresolvable questions and rhetorical questions. The function of these questions is not to request information that is unknown to the speaker. It is argued that surprise-induced unresolvable questions are expressive speech acts devoid of epistemic goals. Surprise-induced rhetorical questions are shown not to suggest an obvious answer, but to request a commitment update from the addressee. Adopting a schema-theoretic approach to surprise, it is shown that unresolvable questions and rhetorical questions can express mirativity, the former at the initial stage of the cognitive processing of unexpectedness, the latter at the last stage.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, April 24, 2018 - 5:48:55 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 11:22:04 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Wednesday, September 19, 2018 - 12:51:00 AM


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  • HAL Id : hal-01774821, version 1


Agnès Celle. Questions as indirect speech acts in surprise contexts. Tense, Aspect, Modality, and Evidentiality: Crosslinguistic perspectives, John Benjamins, pp.211-236, 2018. ⟨hal-01774821⟩



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