Pragmatics of yes/no indirect-responses (YNIRs)

Hassanova A., RZAYEV H.

Akdeniz Language Studies Conference, Antalya, Turkey, 9 - 12 May 2012, vol.70, pp.1038-1048 identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 70
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.01.156
  • City: Antalya
  • Country: Turkey
  • Page Numbers: pp.1038-1048


How do people transmit information with "question-answer" structures? What happens when a speaker utters a meaningful question and the hearer understands it? The present paper focuses on YNIRs in terms of (a) a radical lack of consensus about their potential in production of messages in interpersonal communication; (b) the ways in which they are used to establish and maintain coherent conversation, and (c) to what extent commentary, and supplementary indirect responses can invoke goal (in) compatibility, and how this kind of conflict can prevent stagnation, stimulate interest, and finally contribute to "escalation" of mutual understanding. Although the functional horizons of general questions and the answers to them vary from context to context, the addressee can "control" his judgements and attitudes (apology, ignorance, consent, or refusal) by his deeper exposure to the situation, what, in the end, enables his affiliation with others. The other major concern of the paper is to specify the cases when the pragmatic interpretation of questionless responses is defined as unification of the semantic representation and the internal utterance context. (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Ltd. Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of ALSC 2012