Minimal and non-minimal answers to yes-no questions

Auli Hakulinen


Against the theoretical and methodological background of conversation analysis (CA), the author addresses the issue of the contextual conditions for a specific type of grammatical phenomenon: answers to yes-no questions. She distinguishes five kinds of answers: two minimal ones, one next to minimal one, and two sentential types of answers. Minimal and non-minimal types of answers are shown to be doing different kinds of work in an interaction, full sentence answers addressing a wider range of features oriented to in the context either by the questioner or in the interpretation. The different types are placed along a confirmation-negation continuum.

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