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"Questions" in Argument Sequences in Japanese

Tomoyo Takagi
Human Studies
Vol. 22, No. 2/4, Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis: East and West (Oct., 1999), pp. 397-423
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20011250
Page Count: 27
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"Questions" in Argument Sequences in Japanese
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Abstract

The present study reports on the use of a linguistic category "interrogative," which has been traditionally associated with the act of questioning, and its use in argument talk in Japanese. Based on the observation that interrogative utterances in argument data are regularly followed by non-answers, it is argued that interrogative utterances in argument sequences may not be designed/interpreted as doing questioning. Such use of interrogatives can become an orderly practice to which participants orient themselves in social activities recognizable as arguments. However, though an answer is not expected, the recipient invariably provides some form of response, or the initial speaker seeks such a response when none is provided. Thus the nature of interrogatives as a grammatical category seems to reside in the basic structural unit of social interaction [recipient-oriented action]-[response]. In general, this study is intended to show the dynamically interlocking relationship between grammar and interaction by exploring the intricate interplay between a local action for which interrogative grammar is employed, and the sequential environment and activity framework in which the action takes place.

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