Reformulation of questions with candidate answers

Journal article by Jan Svennevig in International Journal of Bilingualism, volume 17, issue 2, 2013.

International Journal of Bilingualism front page


This article deals with a multiunit question format in which an open question is reformulated as a more specific yes–no question or a list of alternatives. The reformulation is considered a technique for preempting manifest or potential problems of formulating an appropriate answer. The reformulated question proposes one or more candidate answers to the original question and thereby guides the interlocutor in the direction of a relevant type of response. The question format is interpreted mainly as a practice for promoting understanding and participation by the nonnative speaker. In addition, it displays expectations of possible answers and may thus be considered a way of demonstrating common ground and thereby achieving affiliation. On the other hand, the alternatives proposed may on occasions restrain the freedom of the interlocutor to formulate an independent answer and may then be considered a dominating move.

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Published Aug. 21, 2017 1:38 PM - Last modified Aug. 21, 2017 1:41 PM