Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Multi-unit questions in institutional interactions: Sequential organizations and communicative functions
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Scandinavian Languages.
2003 (English)In: Text, Vol. 23, no 4, 539-571 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 23, no 4, 539-571 p.
Keyword [en]
question, multi-unit design, sequence, communicative function, institutional talk, communicative dilemma
National Category
Specific Languages Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-19398OAI: diva2:185922
Available from: 2007-02-07 Created: 2007-02-07 Last updated: 2011-01-13Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Hofvendahl, Johan
By organisation
Department of Scandinavian Languages
Specific LanguagesSociology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Total: 108 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link