A particular kind of ‘action-reaction’
Questions answering questions (in Spanish and Romanian dialogues)
In this article, I discuss a particular (and little studied) action-reaction exchange in Spanish and Romanian, consisting of a dyadic exchange where an exploratory speech act (i.e., a question) is followed by a sequence-dependent reactive speech act, which repeats parts or all of the trigger’s structure in an interrogative form. Rather than being a canonical echo question, the reactive speech act under discussion represents what I call an Interrogative Echo Response (IER), by virtue of the fact that it provides an answer of opposite polarity to that of the initiative move put forward by the questioner (or Interrogative Echo Reply, when the response may or must be explicitly provided after the sequence-dependent interrogative utterance). In both languages, these IERs (and IERps) have a distinct syntactic structure, and the discourse function they fulfill is that of rhetorically challenging the validity of the initial move and providing (or implying) a response of opposite polarity with regard to the triggering question.
Keywords: action-reaction exchange, echo questions, interrogative echo replies, interrogative echo responses, Spanish interrogatives, rhetorical questions, Romanian interrogatives
Published online: 18 August 2016
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