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When ‘yes’ is not enough – as an answer to a yes/no question

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Abstract

This article investigates confirming answers to yes/no questions that consist of more than the type-conforming ‘yes’ token. The study is based on 160 cases of question-answer sequences with confirming answers, taken from a corpus of Danish interactions. The authors claim that certain actions, which are carried out as yes/no questions, demand a response unit that consists of ‘yes’ plus an elaboration. The actions that have this far-reaching projection are: (1) expansion-eliciting questions, (2) knowledge discrepancy questions, and (3) specification requests. The authors found no simple relationship between syntax and action. Some of the actions that demand more than a ‘yes’ can be carried out with both interrogative and declarative syntax, whereas others are done only interrogatively. Keywords: yes/no questions; responses; confirmations; elaborations

References

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