Article published in:Communicating Certainty and Uncertainty in Medical, Supportive and Scientific Contexts
Edited by Andrzej Zuczkowski, Ramona Bongelli, Ilaria Riccioni and Carla Canestrari
[Dialogue Studies 25] 2014
► pp. 369–387
Questioning certainty in research articles and popular science articles
A case-study of modalized wh-interrogatives
This paper is a comparative study of the use of direct and indirect modalized wh-questions in research articles and popular science articles. The corpus analysis reveals that these questions are often interpreted as rhetorical questions and that they are often used to question a proposition that has been previously presented as certain or almost certain. We first suggest that rhetorical questions of this form fall into three semantic types (non-polyphonic, polemic and pseudo-polemic). Their distribution and/or function are then shown to vary across genres – they tend to serve argumentative purposes in research articles and explicative purposes in popular science articles. Finally we examine the parameters which affect the strength with which the presupposition is questioned.
Published online: 26 November 2014
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Cited by other publications
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