On the discourse pragmatics of German wh-headlines
This paper deals with autonomous uses of German subordinate wh-interrogatives as headlines, so-called wh-headlines (e.g. Was Kinder brauchen, ‘What children need’), which we approach from a discourse-pragmatic and diachronic perspective. We take our starting point in the QUD-based, discourse-pragmatic model of interrogatives as proposed by Rosemeyer (this issue). Applying this model, first, to the case of wh-headlines in present-day news discourse, we develop the hypothesis that a writer in using a wh-headline may explicitly introduce an implicit QUD into discourse without posing it as an information-seeking question. In a second step, we assess this hypothesis with respect to the use of wh-headlines in various genres from the Middle High German and Early New High German periods, for which we provide three in-depth case studies. The case studies are contextualized against the backdrop of reflections on potential impact factors in the diachronic evolvement of this particular writing practice. Overall, the results of our study can be taken to lend support to our hypothesis also for genres other than news discourse and for time periods other than modern German.
- 2.Discourse pragmatics of interrogatives
- 3.Modelling the discourse pragmatics of wh-headlines
- 4.Discourse pragmatic functions of wh-headlines: Diachronic studies
- 4.2Times of changing: Upheavals in text reception and production
- 4.3On possible historical precursors of wh-headlines
- 4.4Case studies: Discourse pragmatic functions of wh-headlines in various MHG and ENHG genres