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Multi-unit questions in institutional interactions: Sequential organizations and communicative functions

Linell, Per; Hofvendahl, Johan LU and Lindholm, Camilla (2003) In Text - An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse1981-01-01+01:002006-01-01+01:00 23(4). p.539-571
Abstract
This article deals with multi-unit questioning turns used in different genres of institutional interactions. Analyzing in detail a corpus of about 400 multiunit questions from health care interactions, court trials, police interrogations, and social welfare office talks from Sweden and Finland (all in the Swedish language), a number of sequential patterns are established. Some of these sequential organizations revolve around the interplay between declarative and interrogative units. Several interrogatives in a series usually narrow down questions, for example, by suggesting candidate answers to the initial more general questions. However, many multi-unit questioning turns are concluded with an appended generalizing question. The... (More)
This article deals with multi-unit questioning turns used in different genres of institutional interactions. Analyzing in detail a corpus of about 400 multiunit questions from health care interactions, court trials, police interrogations, and social welfare office talks from Sweden and Finland (all in the Swedish language), a number of sequential patterns are established. Some of these sequential organizations revolve around the interplay between declarative and interrogative units. Several interrogatives in a series usually narrow down questions, for example, by suggesting candidate answers to the initial more general questions. However, many multi-unit questioning turns are concluded with an appended generalizing question. The communicative functions of these different question delivery structures are summarized. We argue that the theory must be sensitive to differences between communicative activity types. However, on the general level, we propose that designing a multi-unit question is an attempt at solving a complex communicative task, which typically involves several, possibly mutually conflicting, demands on the speaker. For example, in court trials, the avoidance of leading questions must be balanced against the need for precise answers. At the same time, the use of an appended generalizing unit might be formulated to secure anything that could count as an acceptable response. (Less)
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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
communicative dilemma, institutional talk, communicative function, sequence, multi-unit design, question
in
Text - An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse1981-01-01+01:002006-01-01+01:00
volume
23
issue
4
pages
539 - 571
publisher
De Gruyter
external identifiers
  • scopus:27644550547
ISSN
0165-4888
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
205bb46b-e300-4fa9-b973-e9eaba391a14 (old id 2376493)
date added to LUP
2012-03-23 15:31:38
date last changed
2018-05-29 11:43:30
@article{205bb46b-e300-4fa9-b973-e9eaba391a14,
  abstract     = {This article deals with multi-unit questioning turns used in different genres of institutional interactions. Analyzing in detail a corpus of about 400 multiunit questions from health care interactions, court trials, police interrogations, and social welfare office talks from Sweden and Finland (all in the Swedish language), a number of sequential patterns are established. Some of these sequential organizations revolve around the interplay between declarative and interrogative units. Several interrogatives in a series usually narrow down questions, for example, by suggesting candidate answers to the initial more general questions. However, many multi-unit questioning turns are concluded with an appended generalizing question. The communicative functions of these different question delivery structures are summarized. We argue that the theory must be sensitive to differences between communicative activity types. However, on the general level, we propose that designing a multi-unit question is an attempt at solving a complex communicative task, which typically involves several, possibly mutually conflicting, demands on the speaker. For example, in court trials, the avoidance of leading questions must be balanced against the need for precise answers. At the same time, the use of an appended generalizing unit might be formulated to secure anything that could count as an acceptable response.},
  author       = {Linell, Per and Hofvendahl, Johan and Lindholm, Camilla},
  issn         = {0165-4888},
  keyword      = {communicative dilemma,institutional talk,communicative function,sequence,multi-unit design,question},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {539--571},
  publisher    = {De Gruyter},
  series       = {Text - An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Study of Discourse1981-01-01+01:002006-01-01+01:00},
  title        = {Multi-unit questions in institutional interactions: Sequential organizations and communicative functions},
  volume       = {23},
  year         = {2003},
}