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Understanding questions and answers in context: An argument for multi-channel analysis

Archer, Dawn (2020) Understanding questions and answers in context: An argument for multi-channel analysis. Scandinavian Studies in Language, 11 (1). pp. 196-213.

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Abstract

Currently, understanding what questions and answers mean in context equates to accounting for the questioner’s role as well as what they expect to (versus) achieve, the position as well as form/function of their question(s) within the interaction: and, if spoken, their delivery, as well as whether a response is given, what type, how, etc. This paper advocates for a further widening of the linguistic analytical lens beyond traditional syntactic/pragmatic criteria so that we might account, in turn, for participants’ facial expressions, body movements and gestures as they deliver their questions and/or respond to others. The paper argues this is particularly pertinent when negotiating meaning generally and crucial when seeking to understand potentially deceptive and/or evasive moves on the part of participants.

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