Answers to questions about questions and answers

Answers to questions about questions and answers

Journal of Pragmatics 227 10 (1986) 227 253 North-Holland REVIEW ANSWERS ARTICLE TO QUESTIONS ABOUT QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS* Jacques MOESCHLER...

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of Pragmatics


10 (1986) 227 253







Jacques MOESCHLER **

A rabbi was running down the streets of a small Polish town, crying: “I’ve got answers, I’ve got answers. Who has a question’?” “Not all questions have an answer; but no less significant is the fact that not all answers have a quesdon”. (M. Halliday and R. Hasan, Cohesion

in English.



1976, p. 206.)

1. Introduction Before speaking about two books on the pragmatics of questions and answers, it is worth remembering that the relation between these two related speech acts is perhaps not as evident as common sense would expect it to be. It is in fact difficult to deny the presence of the double-bound relation between questions and answers. This leads to an unavoidably circular definition of the two speech acts: a question is defined as eliciting an answer, and a response as the move elicited by the question. Although unsatisfactory, this definition is generally accepted as necessary. Another piece of common-sense evidence which governs almost all works about questions and responses concerns their semantic and/or pragmatic content. The traditional perspective considers that a question is a request to supply unknown information, and that what is linked to a question, i.e. a response, is the utterance which provides this information. It is perhaps worth * Review of: Anne-Marie

Dillcr, La prapnafique des questions e/ des r~ponses. Tiibingen: Guntcr Narr Verlag (Tiibinger Bcitrlge zur Linguistik), 1984. 162 pp. DM 38.00. Anna-Brita Stenstriim, Que.srions and responses in English conversation. Malmii. CWK Glcerup (Lund Studies in English), 1984. vii + 296 pp. SEK 100.00. ** Author’s address: J. Moeschler, Uniti: de linguistique francaise, Facultk des Lettres, Universitit de Geneve, I21 I Gentve 4. Switzerland.


;(> 1986, Elsevier Science Publishers

B.V. (North-Holland)

noticing that this informative definition is, not surprisingly, shared by semantic (i.e. truth-functional) and pragmatic (i.e. illocution-functional) perspectives. The aim of this review is to show that these two traditional definitions are not convincing, and that any treatment of questions and answers which adopts them will meet with serious theoretical and analytical difficulties. However, the two books under review do not adopt them entirely. Stenstrom is aware of the circularity of the definition of questions and responses, but adopts it nevertheless. On the other hand, she refutes the second informative definition of questions and answers. Diller’s work is not very clear on these two points. One of the main purposes of her book is to give a connected account of both questions and responses, the problem of the possible circularity of the dcfinition being put aside. Although almost all analyses of questions presuppose a truth-functional level, she interestingly devotes a large part of her work to the analysis of the non-truth-functional aspect of questions, i.e. their argumentative properties. Section 2 and section 3 give, respectively, a ctjtical summary of the main results and proposals of these two books. Section 4 develops a certain number of methodological proposals which should be taken into account in a pragmatic and/or interactive (discoursive) approach to questions and answers that are not, from my point of view, adopted either by Diller or by Stenstriim.

2. Pragmatics, speech act theory, questions and answers 2.1, Speech act pragmutics and integrated ptugmatics Diller’s approach is a classical one. which is restricted to utterances, i.e.-limited to the analysis of linguistic or conventional properties of questions and responses on the one hand, and to the simple dyadic relation between two utterances which work as questions and anwers on the other hand. This restriction of the field of pragmatics is important to notice, because it is the diametrical opposite of the conversational approach of questions and responses proposed by Stenstrom. If Diller’s work is classical in its domain (utterance linguistics vs. discourse linguistics), it is also classical in the theoretical references: generative semantics, speech act theory, the Gricean implicature device. But this does not mean that the perspective is a conservative one. On the contrary, Diller militates for a relatively revolutionary conception of pragmatics, often called in France integrclted prugmatics. This view of pragmatics is principally based on the assumption that the difference between the three components of the linguistic theory (syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) and the relation of order (syntax > semantics > pragmatics) are artificial. Anscombre and Ducrot (Anscombre and Ducrot (1983)), who are the initiators of integrated pragmatics, argue on the contrary that pragmatics does interfere

J. Moeschkr

! Questions uhour queslions


at each level of linguistic description. This framework confers a central role on a particular speech act. the act oj’argumentution, which obliges the addressee to conclude in a certain direction. The other aspect of this theory concerns the way linguistic expressions receive their pragmatic value. The main process one and describes the transfer of involved, called delocuthity, is a diachronic meaning from the original usage to its indirect mention in discourse. As it appears, the main theoretical problem with Diller’s work is linked to the simultaneous assertion of two contradictory perspectives: a strongly classical speech act perspective (mostly influenced by Searle) and the so-called ‘integrated pragmatics’ which refutes almost all of the Searlean hypotheses. Diller’s book has five chapters. The first deals with the traditional semantic approach to questions (‘Le couple question-rcponse’). The second chapter presents the classical approach to indirect speech acts, and more precisely indirect speech acts conveyed by questions (‘Actes indirects de langage et derivation illocutoire’). Chapter 3 is about the French formal system governing the possible anaphoric responses to yes/no questions (‘L’acte illocutoire de question vu a travers ses reponses directes’). Chapter 4 presents the argumentativc properties of questions (‘Le potcntiel argumentatif des questions’). Finally, chapter 5 proposes a Gricean approach to questions, and more precisely a description of the different strategies allowing the indirect interpretation of questions (as request for information) (‘La question vue a travers ses reponses indirectes’). Diller’s book is a revised version of her doctoral dissertation (&&es des acres de langage indirects dans le couple yuesfion-r&mse en frunpis. Universite de Paris Vlll (1980)). Only the last chapter is new. One chapter of the thesis has been omitted, viz. chapter 4: ‘Les hypermarqueurs de derivation dans les questions’. 2.2. Controls of’unswers by questions The first chapter of Diller’s book develops the relation of questions and responses at different levels: syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic. Diller’s purpose is to show that as questions impose a control on responses at these different levels, it is necessary to have a relational account of the couple question-response. The syntactic control of an answer by a question is illustrated by the alternance of personal pronouns in questions and answers. The semantic control is manifested by the condition of identity of presupposition in the couple question response. Finally, the pragmatic control concerns the orientation, in the discourse, of the next move. Questions, in this perspective, show an obvious difference from assertions, in that they present themselves as oricntators (i.e. they create the expectation of a next move, the responsive move). Diller gives a supplementary pragmatic argument for the control of answers by questions. In addition to the illocutionary

constraint, questions present another one, linked to the conversational implicatures speakers arc able to make in order to produce a coherent discourse. She gives the following example: t,l) A: Quand as-tu vu Sophie? B: A Orly. This example allows her to show that neither the syntactic nor the semantic treatment of question-response are satisfactory. In the case of &-questions, the syntactic and/or semantic specification of the variable of the question will lead to the inappropriateness of the response in (I), which is wrong. What happens in this example is that the response ci Orly conveys a conversational implicaturc whose content is something like yuand j’ttais d 01-1~. Thus, Diller discards the standard semantic treatment of questions, viz. the hypothesis of a Q-morpheme (Katz and Postal (1964)) and the performative hypothesis.

The second chapter of Diller’s book concerns the pragmatic aspect of questions, and more precisely the relation between the form of the utterance (interrogative) and its function (or illocutionary force), i.e. the problem of indirect speech acts. The main purpose of this second chapter is thus to explain the possible relation between the literal illocutionary meaning of a question (i.e. a request for information) and the derived illocutionary meaning (mainly that of a request for action). Dillcr presents five theories of indirect illocutionary acts: the conversational postulates theory (Gordon and Lakoff (1975)); the generative semantics treatment (Sadock (1974)); the Searlean model (Searle (1975)); the hypothesis of illocutionary derivation markers (Anscombre (1980)) and finally the meaning convention/usage convention framework (Morgan (1978)). The classical proposals for indirect speech acts (i.e. the theories of conversational postulates. the extended version of the performative hypothesis by Sadock and the Searlean generalizations on the relation between the literal meaning of I, and the felicity conditions of I,) arc not satisfactory for Diller, because they produce false predictions. She gives the following examples: (2) Can you pass the salt? (3) Are you able to pass the salt? Even if the literal content is the same (the speaker questions the capability of the addressee to successfully realize the action of passing the salt), their pragmatic meanings are not equivalent. (2) can be used to express a request for

J. Moeschler ,’Ques~iuns about questions

action. but (3) can only have the function differences between (4)-(5) and (6)):

of a request

for information


(cf. the

(4) Pouvez-vous fcrmer la Porte, puisqu’il fait si froid? (5) Fcrmcz la Porte. puisqu’il fait si froid. (6) *Etes-vous capable dc fcrmer la Porte, puisqu’il fait si froid? Diller prefers thus to adopt another frame of analysis for indirect speech acts. What she suggests is a compromise of two alternative perspectives to classical indirect speech act theory: the theory of illocutionary derivation (Anscombre (1980)) and the convention theory of meaning/usage (Morgan ( 1978)). Anscombre’s theory is based on an initial observation. Certain speech acts arc marked for their’ illocutionary forces, others are not. More precisely, Anscombre proposes the following distinctions between illocutionary acts: _ primitive illocutionary acts, marked in the utterance, _ derived marked illocutionary acts, which realize an indirect speech act via the application of a discourse routine (loi de discours), and _ derived unmarked illocutionary acts, which are the result of the application of a discourse routine. The main advantage of this theory is that it is based on the notion of illocutionary markers. The pragmatic difference between can _YOUand are JOU uble to receives a simple explanation: only cun you is an illocutionary derivation marker, associated with a discourse routine analogous to Gordon and Lakoff s conversational postulates. This notion of illocutionary derivation applies even to the primitive illocutionary acts, whose markers are the performative verbs. The main interest of this chapter is its insistence upon the dynamic process by which illocutionary devices are produced. In contrast to the classical indirect speech act framework, Anscombre on the one hand and Morgan on the other have in mind a progressive and diachronic process. The negative effect of this frame of analysis is that it makes it hard to generalize on pragmatic facts: it necessitates a very careful description of a great quantity of data. Furthermore, Diller proposes a definition of discourse routine (loi de discours) in terms of the relation OCCASIOIS -PIJRPOSE-MEANS (cf. Morgan (1978)). The main problem is that a discourse routine may be triggered even in the absence of a marker (such as s’il te pluit). Thus the discourse routine would be sufficiently defined by the couple OCCASION-PURPOSE. But this does not explain the possible relation between the content of a certain OCCASION and that of a certain PURPOSE. In the end, it is doubtful whether all discourse routines have this format. A pragmatic theory of indirect speech acts and

conversational implicatures should contain other types of discourse routine, and at least have general rules in addition to the particular ones proposed by Diller (cf. Anscombre and Mocschler (in preparation)). 2.4, Positive, negative and non-alternative questions The third chapter is about the illocutionary act of asking questions. as this can be described via the examination of its responses. This chapter is thus relatively exemplary of the method used by Diller, viz. a relational analysis of questions and answers. The main point of this chapter concerns positive and negative questions. Whereas positive questions are requests for information (they question the truth of a proposition), negative questions (called in French interro-nkgatives) are requests for confirmation: they do not question the truth or the falsehood of a proposition, but require, on the contrary. a specific answer: (7a) Pierre a-t-i1 tte reeu? (7b) Pierre n’a-t-i1 pas echoue? Thus, Diller establishes a fundamental asymmetry between utterances of the ‘interro-positive’ form and those of the ‘interro-negative’ form. This asymmetry is in fact constitutive of the formal system governing the possible anaphoric responses. The conventional French system of the distribution of oui, non, and si is the same when the eliciting act is an assertion or a question: oui can only express a POSITIVE AGREEMENT (PA); non has two functions: NEGATIVE DISAGREEMENT (ND) and NEGATIVE AGREEMENT (NA); finally, the only function of si is to mark a POSITIVE DISAGREEMENT (PD):


Est-ce qu’il est venu? Oui (il est venu). (PA) (8b) ;I Est-ce qu’il est venu? Non (il n’est pas venu). (ND) (8~) ;; Est-ce qu’il n’est pas venu? Non (il n’est pas venu). (NA) (8d) ;: Est-ce qu’il n’est pas venu’! (PD) R: Si (il est venu). This fundamental asymmetry can be justified as follows. The behavior of si is particular, as a response or as a tag: si cannot mark an agreement, contrary to oui or non, nor reinforce an assertion, whereas oui and non can. The reason is that si is a conventional illocutionary marker of disagreement.

J. Moeschlw

// Quesrions about questions

The second part of the chapter concerns yes/no questions arc requests for information, distinguishes different types of non-alternative (i)

Interrogative utterances utterances which request


Est-ce que tu te rends compte




which give information:


the classical presupposition i.e. alternative questions. questions: information,




(1 I)

Tu es encore

la, toi?



(I 2)

Ca va bien?


qu’on est deja mardi?

which express an offer or a request:

(10a) Oserais-je vous proposer de venir voir ma collection (lob) Peux-tu me passer le sel, s’il te plait? (iii)

that Diller

which function

de timbres?

like exclamatory


ritual questions:

The evident conclusion is that an appropriate semantic description of questions should at least give two kinds of information: on the one hand instructions concerning the illocutionary potentiality of the questions, and on the other hand specifications of the nature of the expected answers. 2.5. Interro-negative utterances and argumentative questions In her fourth chapter, Diller examines a systematic relation between the form and the function of interrogative utterances, and more precisely of the interro-negatives ones. She distinguishes two functional classes of interronegative utterances: (i) TRUE QUESTIONS which are requests for information, (ii) ARGC'MENTATIVE QUESTIONS which are not requests which recall a fact already known by the addressee. Let us take the following


and for information,



(13) Est-ce qu’ils ne sont pas mar&? In the first interpretation (true question), the scope of the negation is a constituent of the propositional content (i.e. the predicate ttre mark?). The

semantic structure of the utterance is thus [?(-p)]. What is expected from the addressee is a confirmation (non, ils ne sent pus nzuriL;.s)or a disconfirmation (si, ils sent marZs), i.e. a negative agreement or positive disagreement. The second interpretation is completely different: the scope of the negation is the whole proposition (sentence negation vs. constituent negation). The semantic structure proposed by Diller is thus r!-(p)]. The pragmatic consequence of such an interpretation is that this structure has to be taken as an assertion that (p). But the argumentative interpretation of a question ([?-(p)]) is not equivalent to the illocutionary act of assertion ([l-(p)]); she states; “le but de I’acte accompli par la question argumentative n’est pas de fournir une information mais de proposer un argument en faveur d’une certaine conclusion, et qui representc lui-meme une confirmation ou une objection par rapport a une conclusion preddente” (p. 105). The second part of the chapter gives further evidence for the semantic notion of argumentation. Diller proposes a tentative general definition of the act of argumentation. Her definition of the act of argumentation proceeds as follows. The sentence je n’ui pas un sou means ‘I have no money’, and can be used even if the lexcme sou is no longer used with a descriptive function. Diller gives the following explanation: “Si un sou a represent& a une certaine Cpoque la plus petite quantitt d’un certain objet, I’argent. nier la plus petite quantite de cet objet, Lest presenter I’objet tout entier comme non existant” (p. 126). She then in order to question the existence of the makes the following generalization: smallest quuntirJq qfun object. negate it. For Diller, to question the existence of an object is to classify this object as outside the scope of reality. And as she defines precisely the act of argumentation as an act of classifying an object inside or outside the scope of reality, this implies that the principle of negation applied to the smallest quantity of an object produces an act of argumentation. It is obvious that her definition of argumentation is relevant in describing the argumentative potential of interro-negative utterances. Indeed, (14a.b) are argumentative questions and satisfy the definition of the act of argumentation: (14a) Ne sommes-nous pas amants? (14b) Ne sont-ils pas mar&? But what we have here is only a description of the semantic structure of a certain type of acts of argumentation. However, this is not an explanation. Diller does not tell us why this procedure lends itself to argumentative use. On closer examination, her generalization really seems too broad: what (and where) could (there) be such a thing which is not classified inside or outside the scope of reality? Apparently, this is the empty set! Thus, it appears that Diller’s definition is not very informative. But the main criticism we can address to her definition of the act of argumentation is that it cannot provide a relevant description of obvious argumentations. Compared to the most

essential feature of argumentation in Anscombre and Ducrot’s (I 983) theory gradation Diller’s definition is of no help. Let us take the following example: (I 5) Peter is very erudite:

he knows



and even Sanskrit.

What the argumentative conncctivc eve/z tells us is that the fact of knowing Sanskrit is a stronger argument for Peter’s erudition than this knowing Latin although necessary - to state or Greek or both. We see that it is not sufficient that a situation has to be classified inside or outside the scope of reality. What Diller proposes are tentative generalizations, but generalizations which seem limited to certain kinds of argumentations, viz. those realized by interronegative utterances. In this respect, her apparently vacuous definition - which proceeds from a nai’ve inductive procedure is nevertheless appropriate to the narrow corpus of her choice. 2.6. Conversational implicatttres and indirect responses Whereas the first four chapters concern the illocutionary properties of questions and responses and thus illustrate a speech act oriented treatment the fifth chapter deals with the conversational implicatures depending on questions and answers. In fact, Diller proposes a treatment referring to Grice’s framework in order to solve the problem of the appropriateness of indirect responses. The problem is the following. In the case that a question can be legitimately interpreted as a request for information, its response, i.e. the utterance following the question, can be cithcr direct (BI) or indirect (BZ): (I 6) A : Est-ce que tu iras chez Pierre ce soir? Bl: Non. B2: J’ai du travail. An indirect answer dots not make the agreement or disagreement explicit and hence necessitates a deductive calculus 6 la Grice to orientation. For Diller nevertheless, a traditional Gricean treatment answers is insufficient, because an indirect answer presents an (implicitly) which is not necessarily the requested information. proposes the following distinction between (i)

orientation capture this of indirect information Hence, she

the REQUESTED INFORMATION which can be drawn from the propositional content of the question, and (ii) the EXPECTED INFORMATION, which depends on the situational context and on the goal or the reasons of the question.


J. Moesdder, Quesfions uhour


The addressee needs to know the PREVIOUS CONVERSATIONAL FRAME (cadre ~onversationnelprtalahle, or CCP) in order to extract the expected information. For Diller, the CCP plays a crucial role in the interpretive process, and consequently the possible exploitation of the conversational maxims depends on the CCP. Let us take the following example to illustrate Diller’s treatment: (17) A : Est-ce qu’il pleut? BI: Le ciel cst couvert. B2: Non. If the CCP is that of a family, we can suppose that A wants to know whether or not it is worth his while to take his overcoat. Thus, in the same family CCP, B2 (non) would conversationally imply no risk of rain (since it does not rain); ufortiori that it is not worth A’s while to take his overcoat. The notion of CCP allows moreover to determine the appropriateness of answers. In a different CCP (for example, A hears a noise reminding him of falling raindrops), Bl and B2 would be inappropriate as answers to the question est-ce qu’ilpleut?. On the other hand, the utterance c’esr le laveur de curreau would be quite appropriate, since it provides the expected information. Diller calls implicarure Plusive the information requested by a question, and implicarure allusive the information expected by the questioner. Diller’s treatment of indirect answers is problematic for two reasons. First of all, the notion of CCP being a central one, it requires a clear and explicit definition. But the analysis presented makes it impossible to give a general, i.e. abstract and theoritical definition of the CCP. Moreover. it can only give a particular specification of the CCP: a given CCP will entail a given conversational goal. The theoretecal consequence is obvious: pragmatics - in any case the pragmatics of conversational implicatures - is a subpart of what I would call ‘socio-pragmatics’. This is actually Diller’s opinion, since she states: “La connaissance des facteurs sociaux qui gouvernent la competence de communication doit itre consideree comme un prealable a tout ‘calcul’ d’implicature” (p. 148). This view of pragmatics is disputable. What I shall say is that the actual knowledge of the structure of the implicature schema is such that it seems rather premature to give a sociological content to contextual variables. We can even wonder whether this is legitimate: in fact, other pragmatic frameworks (cf. Sperber and Wilson (1986)) propose a purely cognitive definition of context (the context being what can be accessed by the hearer in the interpretive process). Furthermore, it is not certain that the traditional Gricean analysis of indirect answers is incorrect. If we look at example (17), it is not the maxim of quantity which will be used to establish the implicature, but the maxim of relation (‘Be relevant’). Moreover, the distinction between requested and expected informa-

J. Morschkr

: Questions uhout quesrions


tion is another formulation of the traditional distinction between literal and implicated meaning of questions. Indeed, the expected information (given implicitly or explicitly by the answer) depends on the non-literal interpretation of the question, that is on the interpretation of its conversational implicature. But the brief traditional treatment I propose here is simpler, since it needs no reference to a concept such as the CCP. What is central here is relevance, i.e. the ability of the addressee to identify the most relevant relation between a question and its situational context. Moreover, the Gricean treatment, in opposition to Diller, allows for a systematic representation of the pragmatic relation between directness and indirectness in the couple question--response: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv)

Direct question and direct response. Direct question and indirect response. Indirect question and direct response. Indirect question and indirect response.

The problem illustrated by Diller (example (17)) obviously belongs to the fourth category. This is merely a particular case of the logically possible relations between questions and responses. Consequently, the notion of CCP and expected vs. requested information receives no general justification. 2.7. Conclusion Diller’s treatment of the couple question response can thus be defined as a conventionalist one. Her main object is to describe the systematic relation between a linguistic form (an interrogative utterance) and an interpretation (the illocutionary function of the utterance), this interpretation being given either by the formal properties of the question, and inferred by the context, or constrained by the properties of the response. I will nevertheless formulate three important criticisms of Diller’s approach, according to a different conception of pragmatics (cf. section 4). Diller’s position is a conventionalist restricted one. This simply means that the more important generalizations are the results of an inductive reasoning. I think that the explanation is simple: pragmaticians would like to treat pragmatics as syntacticians do syntax. This is impossible for at least two reasons. Pragmatics has to do with context, and it is thus necessary to change both utterances and contexts; and pragmatics has to do with discourse, which implies a treatment radically different from the treatment of a sentence. Hence, Diller’s conventionalist position is sociologically oriented. This means that whenever a pure linguistic explanation is not found, reference is made to the social facts constituting the context. A social pragmatic approach is not always to be condemned, but a mere reference to this kind of facts cannot have an explanatory value (cf. Diller’s summary treatment of the function of si in

the South of France - PA and PD - as a contamination of Italian, Spanish, and Catalan). The main criticism to be leveled at Diller’s approach is that the illocutionary potential of questions is supposed to be relational, i.e. determined by the possible responses to questions. But such a treatment necessitates a clear and explicit conception of the possible and/or actual relations between what is being called a question and a response. In other words, this implies a theory of the discoursive sequence question response, i.e. of the different conditions imposed by a question (or what is interpreted as a question) and a response (or what is given as a response). No such theory or no such specifications are given. The explanation is simple: although her analysis asserts a relational attention, it is in fact determined by a single-utterance pragmatic oriented framework, i.e. speech act theory. We will see in the next section that a discourse oriented analysis not only offers different answers to the same questions, but answers different questions as well. To sum up, Diller’s book presents a good overview of the speech act analysis of questions. and in connection with this, discusses a good number of interesting linguistic facts.

3. Conversation, questions, and anwers 3.1. A jiinctionul

and interactive


on questions

Quite a different treatment of questions and answers Stenstrom. The main differences from that of Dill&s follows:

und unswers has been developed by can be summed up as

(i) Stcnstrom’s perspective is not only pragmatic (i.e. speech act oriented), but also interactive (i.e. discourse oriented): questions and answers are investigated in terms of what they do in discourse, and in terms of the units of discourse (acts, moves, exchanges) in which they occur (interactive level). Stenstrom’s assumption is that questions (Q) and responses (R) belong to exchanges whose basic structure is Q R (F), where (F) means the optional following-up move (reaction to R). (ii) From a linguistic description perspective, Diller’s strategy is traditional. She moves from form to function. Stcnstrom’s attitude is the opposite: it is functional. She proposes the following hierarchy in methodological questions: 1. What does the speaker say? (function) 2. Where does he or she say it? (discourse) 3. How does he or she say it? (form). This implies a functional interpretive system, a discourse model, and finally a correlation between functional, discursive, and formal realizations. (iii) Stenstriim’s discoursive approach demands a different corpus than Diller’s. Whereas Diller’s descriptions are based on artificial data, Stenstrom’s

J. Moesclder

,’Quesrions ohour quesrions


conclusions are the results of an analysis of authentic conversations. Her corpus includes 25 English conversations from the LOXDON-LUND CORPUS OF SPOKEN ENGLISH (including face-to-face (two or multi-party) conversations, telephone talks, one radio interview, and one courtroom interaction). The major advantage of such a corpus for the description of Q and R is that it allows for a discursive and interactive approach, even if it appears that some phenomena (in particular those concerning the form-function relation) could be treated in a simpler way by a systematic treatment of artificial data. Therefore, it is worth emphasizing that Stenstrom’s approach is not totally dependent on the corpus (as it is in traditional structuralist procedures). However, the corpus has the main virtue of dealing with larger pragmatic units than utterances, and also of avoiding quick generalizations on discourse phenomena. Her book contains 11 chapters, 4 appendices (giving contextual information about the corpus, the conventions of transcription, etc.) and an excellent thematic index. Chapters 1 to 3 concern general properties of conversation, Q, R, and F. Chapter 4 presents the conversational model of analysis used by Stenstrom (which is a revised version of Sinclair and Coulthard (1975)). Chapters 5 and 6 are about the interactional units of discourse (transaction, sequence, and exchange), whereas chapters 7 to 9 deal with the interactive units Q-move, R-move, and F-move. Chapter IO is a general, tentative synthesis of the conversational type properties (multi-party, telephone, court, and interview dialogue). In the following, the stress will essentially be on the methodological problems raised by Stenstrdm’s analysis and on the properties of her conversational model. I shall propose (cf. section 3.5) an alternative model, linked to a much more dynamic perspective of discourse. In section 4, this dynamic model of discourse (based on a theory of sequencing rules) will be briefly applied to the relations between Q and R. 3.2. Definition and typology of Q and R The first problem to be discussed here concerns Stenstrbm’s definition of Q and R. As mentioned in our introduction, her definition is circular: Q is defined as “an utterance that may elicit an R” (p. 24) and R as “the utterance elicited by Q” (p. 25). It must be noticed though, as Stenstrijm herself does, that these definitions do not imply that a Q is necessary followed by an R. Indeed, her formulation allows the possibility of a non-answered Q. But her definitions imply that Q and R are utterances which have the same functional status, the difference lying in the eliciting vs. elicited aspect of Q and R. Although Stenstriim postulates a pragmatic difference between Q and R (“contrary to Q, R can hardly be described as an illocutionary act at all” (p.7)), I think that the difference is elsewhere. In fact, in the sequence Q R F, F


J. Moeschkr ! Que.s/ions ahou/ quesfiom

is elicited by R, as R is elicited by Q; thus both Q and R have an illocutionary eliciting power. The difference lies in that whereas R is a function whose arguments are two utterances, R(B,A), Q is a function whose first argument is an utterance and second argument a function, i.e. the function denoted by R: Q(A,R(B,A)) (cf. for this definition Auchlin, Moeschler and Zenone (1980) Moeschler (1982, 1985)). The consequences of these two different functional definitions are the following: (1) The main diffcrencc between Q and R is not linked to the opposition eliciting/elicited, but is in the fact that Q imposes constraints on R (illocutionary and discoursive) and thus gives indications about what is a possible appropriate R and a possible inappropriate R, whereas R indicates only that certain conditions arc satisfied relatively to Q. (2) The difference between Q without R and R without Q now becomes clear: in the first case, what is missing is a function, R(B,A); in the second case, what is missing is an utterance, the one which is the source of the conditions given as satisfied by R. Q alone is not a discourse sequence, whereas R alone is, because it indicates implicitly that a Q is the second argument of the relation. The impact of our discussion is not only methodological, but also empirical: how is it possible, working with conversational data, to delimitate Q-R sequences? Stenstrom admits that on this matter her definitions rely on “a certain amount of subjectivity on the part of the analyst” (p. 25). Another point of view should be opposed here: the only question the analyst can ask is whether an utterance U, imposes or satisfies discoursive or illocutionary constraints. In section 4, I shall examine the different kinds of constraints relating Q and R. The second problem linked to Q and R is typological. What kinds of Q and R are there and in what way are they related? In chapter 3, Stenstrom distinguishes firstly six types of Q. which vary in terms of degree of R expectation (high-iweak) and degree of Q elicitation (strong--tweak): request for information (1); request for confirmation (2); suggestion (3); rhetorical Q (4); exclamatory Q (5); request for acknowledgement (6): (1) Where is JOHN? Is John in LONDdN? (2) John is in LONDON, isn’t he? (,3) Why not try ANOTHER way? (4) How should i know? (5) Isn’t it GdRGEOUS? (6) This I think is perfectly P&SIBLE,

isn’t it?

(This typology is abandoned in chapter 4 in favour of a system of 10 functional Q units of rank act (cf. section 3.3)).

J. Moeschler

: Questions ubout questions


The typology of R (chapter 3) can be represented by the following schema (fig. 3.3, p. 58): comply imply _[ suPPlY REPLY evade _[ disclaim


ANSWER -appropriate



repeat - delayed R


-no appropriate

clarify silence R change of topic

Stenstrom’s typology is first of all based on the discoursive function of R in conversation. Silences and changes of topic are considered not to be appropriate R (in reality, such utterances have no R function). Other Q have as function to delay R (in particular requests for repetition and requests for clarification). Appropriate R constitute the set of R, which is divided into two interconnected subsets, ANSWER and REPLY. ANSWERS are R referring to the questioned element, i.e. the complement of the performative reconstruction of Q (I request that you tell me whether p), whereas REPLIES are R referring to the performative. A COMPLY gives the information required, whereas an IMPLY gives the information indirectly, i.e. via an implicature. The third type of ANSWER (SUPPLY) gives an inadequate information, i.e. it is beside the point. SUPPLIES belong equally to REPLIES, when intended as a means to avoid responding. An EVADE avoids explicitly giving the information, and finally a DISCLAIM is a challenge to Q: (8) A: BI:

B2: B3: B4: B.5:

When is John coming back? COMPLY At five. IMPLY Dinner’s at five. He said he was going back SUPPLY to work at 8. EVADE You know that. DISCLAIM How should I know?






3.3. A hierurchical and functionul model of discourse Let us turn now to the conversational

model in which Q and R are analyzed.


J. Moeschkr

/ Questions

about questions

First, the model is hierarchical because it is based on a rank scale whose units are TRANSACTION, SEQCTKCE, EXCHANGE, MOVE, and ACT. “A transaction consists minimally of one exchange and maximally of a coherent series of exchanges” (p. 71). A sequence is an intermediate unit. An exchange is composed of moves, minimally of an eliciting move and a responding move. “A move consists of one or more acts” and “indicates what the utterance does in the discourse” (p. 72). “An act is the lowest unit” and “indicates what the speaker means” (ibid.). Stenstrom uses square brackets [ ] to denote moves and angle brackets < > to indicate acts. Second, her model is functional because it consists in a functional typology of the major units (acts, moves, and exchanges). It is composed of 40 act types, 1I move types and 4 exchange types. The major units are examined below. Acts are classified into 4 groups: elicitation acts (Q acts), response acts (R acts), follow-up acts (F acts), and other acts (sic). In the first three groups, Stenstrom distinguishes primary acts (i.e. the main constituent in the move) and accompanying acts (i.e. optional constituents in the move). The primary Q R acts give the following taxonomies: Primary Q acts: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; , and . (10) Primary R acts: < R: accept/reject > ; < R: acknowledge> ; < R: clarify> ; < R: confirm/disconfirm > ; < R: disclaim > ; < R: evade> ; < R: identify>; ; ; , and

As a first comment, we notice that Stenstrom’s taxonomy is not homogeneous. Under functional labels, she distinguishes functional, formal, and positional properties of utterances: actually, is a label for &-questions, and for yes/no questions. Other categories ( , ) are qualifications of the positions of Q in the discourse structure. Moves are constituents of exchanges, not to be equated with turns. The main move types are the following: (I I) [Frame]: introduces a new topic [Focus]: introduces a new Q/R exchange [Elicit] (Q): opens eliciting exchanges [Check] (Qc): holds up the progress of a Q/R exchange [Respond] (R): follows Q moves [Re-elicit] (Qq): occurs after a preceding -eliciting exchange [Re-open] (Qr): questioner’s reaction to R [Follow-Up] (F): exchange terminator

J. Moeschlur i Quvsrions about questions


Exchanges are divided in four classes and two types (superordinate and subordinate). ELICITING and RE-ELICITING EXCHANGES are superordinate, whereas CHECKING and REOPENING EXCHANGES are subordinate. Checking exchanges are embedded in eliciting exchanges (which open transactions). Re-opening exchanges occur after R moves. The minimal and maximal structure of eliciting exchanges is the following: (12) Eliciting exchange: Q R (2 moves) Focus Q Qc R R Qr R F (8 moves) In the following, I will comment in detail on Stenstrom’s model. (1) A certain redundancy exists between the functional categories. To [Elicit], [Re-elicit], [Check], and [Re-open] correspond respectively the ELICITING, REELICITING, CHECKING and RE-OPENING exchanges. Thus, the exchange typology is directed by the functional properties of the initiative moves. The same phenomenon occurs for the relations between act and move (cf. [Frame], < focus > -[Focus], etc.). (2) As each act, move, and exchange receives a functional label, it is legitimate to ask whether the taxonomy is open or closed. Why 40 and not 41 acts, 12 and not 11 moves, 9 and not 8 maximal moves in the structure of eliciting exchanges? As the system is apparently closed, the discovery of a new act type or move type would have as a consequence the total modification of the whole system. (3) A hierarchical model like Stenstrom’s should offer principles of compositionality, which yield the structure of discourse. The rank scale allows for a hierarchical compositional principle (each constituent of rank n is composed of constituents of rank n - 1). Thus, the structure of eliciting exchanges should be something like (I 3): (13) \ I







J. Mocsschler ! Quesrions about questions


But in Stenstrbm’s description of Q, we often encounter sequences like FRAME Q, which means that this structure would be something like (14): Q-MOVE



< frame >

This contradicts her definition of move (“a move consists of one or more act?” (p. 82)), since a move (Q-move) is composed of two moves ([Frame] and [Elicit]). 3.4. The structure of exchange Stenstrom defines the exchange (chapter 6) as “the unit concerned with negotiating the transmission of information and its polarity” (p. 111). This negotiation can be achieved in various ways, by way of a minima1 exchange (Q R) or an expanded one. As the only obligatory constituents are Q and R, the general structure of the eliciting exchange can be given by the following structure, where the parentheses signal the optional constituents:

(15) {(FRAME) (FOCUS>Q This structure, then, indicates that the FRAME and FOCUS moves are optional before Q, that a CHECKIKG (Qc) move or a responsive question (R/Q) are optional after Q, that a RE-OPEIWG move (Qr) and its R are optional after R, and finally that a FOLLOW-UP (F) move is optional after R and can occur recursively. The problem I would like to raise concerns what Stenstrlim calls the ‘eliciting part of the exchange structure’, i.e. Q (Qc or R/Q) R. This structure offers three possibilities which Stenstriim qualifies as ‘strategies’. She gives the following definitions (p. 113): Strategy 1 “The initial Q is responded to straight away”:

J. Moeschler

Strategy 2 “The initial Q is responded embedded exchange”:

! Questions

ubour yuesrions

to on the basis of what is negotiated


in the

A: B: :c [ R A: B: C R

Strategy 3 “The initial Q is responded to by an utterance with dual function”: A: Q B: [ R/Q A:


She provides the following examples:

(16) A: (Q) B: (R)

(17) A: (Q)

B: (Qc) A: (R) B: (R)

(18) A: (Q)

B: (R/Q)

A: (R)

do you lock your room when you leave it yes I do well what shall we do about this boy then Duveen m well I propose to write saying I’m very sorry I cannot teach at the Institute do you like this work here in this department you were here were you once I was an undergraduate here very ripe years

The exchange structure proposed is problematic. Let us examine strategy 2. Two facts are indisputable. There are two exchanges Q R and Qc R, the latter embedded in the former; the question is at which level. A plausible interpretation of (17) is that R to Q depends on R to Qc. Thus, I would rather say that Qc R is subordinate to R, and not to the superordinate eliciting exchange Q R, as Stenstriim suggests. Therefore, strategy 2 would be described as follows: (19) A: B: A: B:

Q Qc R R

We shall examine the meaning of the intermediate structural level in the next section. The same remark can be made for the strategy 3: the response to Q is given by the second exchange Q R:


J. Moesclder

(20) A: B: A: 4

: Questions ubout quesrions



The conclusion is that Stenstriim’s model is not constrained enough to yield precise structural descriptions of conversations. That is the reason why I would like to sketch a rather similar conversational model, but much more constrained on the structural and compositional level (cf. Roulet et al. (1985), Moeschler (1985)). 3.5. An alternative model of’conversational discourse What is lacking in Stenstrom’s model is a much more constrained description of exchange structures. In fact, we can easily solve the problems I have mentioned if we postulate - beside the hierarchical compositional principle - a functional compositional principle. This principle should explain exchange and move structures. Before presenting this principle, it is necessary to elucidate two points: (i) The relevant rank scale is composed of exchange (E), move (M), and act (A). This rank scale provides a basis for the hierarchical compositional principle (E are composed of M and M are composed of A). (ii) The conversational constituents (E, M, and A) have functional relations of two types: illocutionary and interactive. Illocutionary relations are relations between constituents of E (i.e. between M). Interactive relations are relations between constituents of M. But, contrary to Stenstrom’s analysis, M can be composed of any one of the constituents E, M, A. These constituents are either director (primary) or subordinate (accompanying). The director con\tituent (DM or DA) produces the illocutionary meaning of the move. The subordinate constituents (SE, SM, SA) are optional, i.e. they can be deleted. The functional compositional principle is now easy to formulate: exchanges are composed of constituents which have illocutionary relations (i.e. moves) and moves are composed of constituents which have interactive relations (i.e. exchanges, moves, or acts). The consequences of the adoption of the functional compositional principle are twofold. First, it provides precise instructions about the exchange structure. Second, it is now possible to give an account of the move structure, as well as a description of the conversational function of pragmatic markers (on this, cf. Roulet et al. (1985: ch, 2), Auchlin (1981)). Let us examine the first consequence only, which deals with exchange structures. If we take Stenstriim’s exchange structure (cf. (12)), we see a sequence of functional constituents. Every constituent belonging to (12) is of rank move. But (12) does not show a hierarchical structure. If we draw a

J. Moeschler i Quesrions ubout questions


parallel with syntax, (12) would have a functional tagmemic description in which each constituent would be the sum of a category and of a function (a slot). The output of this kind of description would necessarily be a sequence of constituents. By contrast, the compositional principle offers hierarchical structures, just as immediate constituent analysis does in syntax. Take (I 2): here we should be able to recognize the immediate moves (Ml for the initiative or eliciting move, M2 for the reacting or responding move, M3 for the evaluating or following-up move), and the immediate constituents of these three moves. Let us suppose that one value of (12) is (21): (21) FOCUS Q Qc Rl R2 Qr R3 F What would be the hierarchical structure of this sequence? M 1 is composed of Q}. M2 (the reacting move) is composed of {Qc RI R2 Qr R3): what is central is the answer to the question, even if this answer is preceded by a checking exchange {Qc RI} and followed by a re-opening exchange {Qr R2). M3 is simply composed of {F}. At a second level, we can look into the problem of the structure of complex moves, i.e. Ml and M2. The director constituent of Ml is Q, since it cannot be deleted. The question of the rank of FOCUS and Q depends on the complex vs. simple pragmatic aspect of these constituents. If Q is realized only by one A, it will receive the status of DA (the same for FOCUS, which receives a simple SA or complex SM status). For M2, the argumentation is the same: the director is R2, and what is subordinate are the two exchanges SE {Qc RI} and {Qr R3}. It is worth noticing that this immediate constituent analysis does not use functional categories such as FOCUS, Q, R for immediate constituents. These functional (i.e. interpretive) labels are the output of the structural analysis. The hierarchical functional analysis of (21) would be something like (21’): {FOCUS

























M2 E-


J. Morschler : Quesrionsahour questions

4. Questions and responses in a theory of discourse constraints 4.1. The notion of satisfaction conditions

Any pragmatic treatment of the couple question---response should answer the following question: What is a possible appropriate response to a given question? This point receives no systematic explanation neither in Diller’s nor in Stenstrom’s books. Diller is interested in the relation form-function in questions and responses; Stenstrom proposes a typology of responses based on appropriateness criteria (cf. (7) in section 3.2), but her proposal receives no justification. To conclude this review, I would like to suggest a solution to the sequencing Q-R problem. The theoretical tools used should have, however, a wider scope, since they have already been used for a typology of denials (cf. Moeschler (1982)) and recently for the description of discursive strategies (cf. Roulet et al. (1985: ch. 3)). The basic assumption is the following: (1) In any sequence Vi-U,, utterance U, can be interpreted as a question (illocutionary function) if it imposes sequencing constraints (or satkfaction conditions, SC) on U,; utterance U, is interpretable as a response (illocutionary function) if it satisfies the SC. The goal of this section is therefore to present the set of satisfaction conditions imposed on responses by questions. Before commenting on these constraints. 1 need to make two remarks: (1) These conditions are neither necessary nor sufficient conditions. They have as their main function to define a scale of R-appropriateness. If an utterance U, does not satisfy any conditions, it will be qualified as a REPLY. The first difference from Stenstrom’s typology is that for me, a change of topic and a disclaim will belong to the same functional class, i.e. to the non-appropriate R or replies. (2) The second remark concerns the conversational status of the constituents which impose or satisfy the SC. Obviously, the units belong to the level of move. When I talk about questions imposing SC on responses, I mean Qmoves and R-moves. This implies that Q and R-moves can be complex. In this case, the problem of the sequencing relation between Q and R-moves is much more complex, since the connection can be in the subordinate vs. director constituents. I will here suppose the simplest case, where Q and R-moves are not complex, i.e. are composed by an unique director act.

J. Moeschler

4.2. A typology of‘satkfbction





(2) THEMATIC CONDITION The R-move must be thematically related to the Q-move (implicitly or explicitly). (3) CONDITION OF PROPOSITIONAL CONTENT The R-move must be semantically related to the Q-move by way of one of the following semantic relations: paraphrase, opposition, or implication. (4) ILLOCUTIONARY CONDITION The R-move must be of an illocutionary type compatible with the Q-type (i.e. the R-move must have a representative illocutionary type). (5) CONDITION OF ARGUMENTATIVE ORIENTATION The R-move must have the same argumentative orientation as the Q-move. It is worth noticing that the set of SC is valid for yes/no questions only. In the case of i&-questions, the condition of argumentative orientation does not work and the condition of propositional content must be specified in a different way the content of the R-move must supply an appropriate constant to the variable given by the propositional function of the Q-move content). These conditions can be illustrated by the following R-moves: (6)

A: Are you free tonight? ’Bl: Yes, of course.

B2: No, sorry. B3: Do you want to go to the movie? I B4: I don’t know. I have to check my calendar. In these four answers, we have a standard case of scalar satisfaction. Bl is more satisfactory than B2. B2 is more satisfactory than B3, and B3 is more satisfactory than B4. In BI, all SC are satisfied. In B2, the condition of argumentative orientation is not satisfied. B3 receives several interpretations: the most favorable one implicitly offers a positive answer and opens a superordinate exchange, embedding the Q and R moves; the least favorable interpretation does not give a positive or negative orientation to the Q-move, but initiates a subordinate exchange. In the first interpretation, only the illocutionary condition is not satisfied. In the second one, both the illocutionary condition and the condition of argumentative orientation are not satisfied. Finally, B4 does not satisfy the condition of argumentative orientation and the


J. Moeschler



ahour quesrions

condition of propositional content; the only satisfaction relation is the thematic condition (the recognition of ignorance is related to the presupposition of knowledge given by the Q-move). These four examples gives thus an idea about the hierarchical relations between the SC. The hierarchy is the following: (7a) (7b) (7~) (7d)

Thematic relation. Condition of propositional content. Illocutionary condition. Condition of argumentative orientation.

This scale leads to the following generalizations: (8) The more an R-move satisfies the SC (on the hierarchical scale (7a) to (7d)) the more it is appropriate to the Q-move. (9) The satisfaction of the thematic condition is a necessary and sufficient condition on the appropriateness of the R-move. 4.3. Satisfaction conditions and levels of appropriateness The principal virtue of the set of SC is to give a scalar description of R-move appropriateness. I will distinguish four levels of appropriateness, each corresponding to the gradual satisfaction of the SC. If the thematic condition is not satisfied, the R-move is simply THEMATICALLY INAPPROPRIATE. If only the thematic condition is satisfied, I shall speak of an R-move as SEMANTICALLY INAPPROPRIATE. If both the thematic condition and the condition of propositional content are satisfied, but not the illocutionary condition, I shall qualify the R-move as PRAGMATICALLY INAPPROPRIATE. Finally, if the only condition which is not satisfied is the condition of argumentative orientation, the R-move INAPPROPRIATE. We can sum up these distinctions in a is ARGUMENTATIVELY schema, see (10). Figure (10) proposes thus a hierarchy of levels in a pragmatic analysis: the upper level is the thematic one, the lowest the argumentative one; in between, we find the semantic and the pragmatic - or illocutionary - levels. The real motivation for this type of hierarchy depends on discourse structure phenomena. In Moeschler (1982) I have proposed the hypothesis that the sufficient but not necessary - condition for the exchange closure is the argumentative coorientation of the initiative and of the reactive moves, i.e. of Q and R-moves. This structural phenomenon partly explains why. in sequencing relations between moves, the condition of argumentative orientation is the last condition for appropriateness, although it constitutes the first level of interactional expectations.

J. Moeschler i Questions ubour questions


(10) Scale of discursive appropriateness thematic condition

thematic’ inappropriateness

condition of propositional content

A semantic inappropriateness


pragmatic inappropriateness

condition of argumentative orientation

argumentative inappropriateness

argumentative appropriateness

4.4. Satisfaction conditions in a model of discourse The last question I would like to raise is the place and the function of the SC in a theory of discourse, and more precisely in the alternative framework sketched in section 3.5. (a hierarchical functional model of conversation). The SC (satisfaction conditions) function as sequencing constraints. This means that they can be interpreted as sequencing rules between moves in exchanges. These sequencing rules have a particular status: they are neither exchange formation rules, nor conversational norms that must be obeyed. They play in fact the role of instructions which can be more or less followed, i.e. satisfied. The implication for the conversation interpretation is thus the following: the addressee is confronted with a multiple choice when he is required to answer. He can satisfy few or many SC, and in doing so he gives a more or less positive contribution to the exchange. The second point I must clarify is the relation between the SC theory and the hierarchical and functional model of conversation. To elucidate this question, I need to formulate the goals that discourse analysis - or conversational analysis _ should to my opinion formulate. First of all, discourse analysis, like sentence syntax, must produce structural descriptions of discourse sequences, i.e. explain the hierarchical relations between conversational constituents. But this is not the final goal of discourse analysis. The main purpose of discourse analysis is to formulate, in the most possibly explicit way, the sequencing rules and the


J. Moescl~br / Quesrions ahour questions

interpretive rules allowing the production and the interpretation of a meaningful discourse. Then, the place of the SC in a theory of discourse becomes clear. They constitute an attempt to formulate explicit sequencing rules explaining the possible hierarchical and functional relations between conversational constituents. Consequently, they belong to the explanatory level of discourse description, whose descriptive level is the structural analysis. This conception of discourse analysis has many advantages. First, it allows for a permanent feedback relation between corpus analysis and a theoretical development of the framework. Empirical facts will not destroy the system of analysis, but enrich it. Second, it allows for parallel work on corpus and on artificial data. If we take the example of pragmatic connectives (as described in Roulet et al. (1985: ch. 2)) conversation has been used as a discovery procedure and as an object of verification, whereas the proper pragmatic description of these markers has been based on artificial data. Third, the distinction between the descriptive level and the explanatory level brings new perspectives into discourse analysis. In Roulet et al. (1985: ch. 3), we have proposed a third level, called the strategical level. On this level, in fact, the SC forms the basis for the description of the different types of strategies (interactive, interactional, interpretive) used by discourse participants in order to conduct the negotiation, and to interpret and react to this interpretation during the conversational process.

References 32: 61-124. Anscombrc, Jean-Claude, 1980. Voulez-vous d&river avec moi? Communications Anscombre, Jean-Claude et Oswald Ducrot, 1983. L’argumentation dans la langue. Bruxelles: Mardaga. Anscombre, Jean-Claude et Jacques Moeschler, in preparation. Discourse routines. Auchlin, Antoine, 1981. Reflexions sur les marqueurs de structuration de la conversation. Etudes de linguistique appliquee 44: 88.-103. Auchlin, Antoine, Jacques Moeschler ct Anna Zenone, 1980. lllocution et interactivite: prehminaires I une analyse fonctionnelle des actes de langage en sequence. Cahiers de linguistique francaise I : 42-53. Borillo, And&, 1978. Structure et valeur Cnonciative de I’interrogation totale en francais. Universite de Provence. (These d’8tat.) Cole, Peter, ed., 1978. Syntax and semantics, Vol. 9: Pragmatics. New York: Academic Press. Cole, Peter and Jerry L. Morgan, eds., 1975. Syntax and semantics, Vol. 3: Speech acts. New York: Academic Press. Dillcr, Anne-Marie, 1980. Etude des actes de langage indirects dans le couple question-reponse cn francais. These de 3’ cycle. Universite de Paris VIII. Gordon, David and George Lakoff, 1975. ‘Conversational postulates’. In: P. Cole and J.L. Morgan, eds., 1975. pp. 83-106. Katz, Jerrold J. and Paul M. Postal, 1964. An integrated theory of linguistic descriptions. Cambridge, MA: M.I.T.

J. Morschler

i Qucsrions about yuesrions


Mocschler. Jacques, 1982. Dim et contredirc. Pragmatiquc de la negation et acte de refutation dans la conversation. Berm: Lang. Moeschler, Jacques. 1985. Argumentation et conversation. Elements pour une analyse pragmatiquc du discours. Paris: Haticr. Morgan, Jerry L., 1978. ‘Two types of convention in indirect speech acts’. In: P. Cole, cd., 1978. pp. 245-259. Roulet, Eddy et al., 1985. L’articulation du discours en francais contemporain. Bernc: Lang. Sadock, Jerrold M.. 1974. Towards a linguistic theory of speech acts. New York: Academic Press. Scarle, John R.. 1975. ‘Indirect speech acts’. In: P. Cole and J.L. Morgan, eds., 1975. pp. 59-82. Sinclair, J.McH. and R.M. Coulthard, 1975. Towards an analysis of discourse. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Sperbcr. Dan and Deirdre Wilson, 1986. Relevance: Communication and cognition. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.