Polar answers and epistemic stance in Greek conversation

Angeliki Alvanoudi

Abstract

This conversation analytic study examines the linguistic resources for indexing epistemic stance in second position in question sequences in Greek conversation. It targets three formats for providing affirming/confirming answers to polar questions: unmarked and marked positive response tokens, and repetitions. It is shown that the three formats display different functional distributions. Unmarked response tokens do ‘simple’ answering, marked response tokens provide overt confirmations, and repetitional answers assert the respondent’s epistemic authority besides confirming the question’s proposition. Unmarked and marked response tokens accept the questioner’s epistemic stance, whereas repetitional answers may accept or resist the epistemic terms of the question, depending on the action being implemented by the question. This study sheds light on the organization of questioning and answering in Greek conversation and the role of epistemics in the design of polar answers.

Keywords:
Publication history
Table of contents

This paper examines epistemic stance taking in polar answers in Greek conversation. More specifically, the analysis targets three formats for providing affirming/confirming polar answers, namely unmarked response tokens, marked response tokens, and repetitions, and demonstrates that these formats convey the respondent’s different positioning towards the questioner’s epistemic stance and the proposition in question.

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