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Why Do You Ask?The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse$
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Alice Freed and Susan Ehrlich

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306897

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306897.001.0001

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The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse

The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse

An Introduction

1 The Function of Questions in Institutional Discourse
Why Do You Ask?

Susan Ehrlich (Contributor Webpage)

Alice F. Freed (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1, written by the volume's editors, Susan Ehrlich and Alice Freed, provides an overview of the fourteen chapters of this volume and makes its own contribution to the study of questioning in institutional discourse. Ehrlich and Freed discuss various descriptions of questions, provide a working definition of questions that combines functional and sequential dimensions, and review earlier studies of questions in institutional discourse. The description of the chapters is organized around the features of context, which the volume contributors focus on in determining the meaning and function of questions in various settings. The distinctions previously drawn between ordinary and institutional talk are critiqued. The chapter underscores the value of attending to a range of factors in diverse institutional settings for gaining new insights about question meaning and question function.

Keywords:   questioning in institutional discourse, context, interactional control, question design and function, ordinary and institutional talk, question meaning, question function

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