Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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Based on twelve celebrity interviews in Mandarin Chinese and American English, broadcast in a range of talk-radio/television programs in the U.S. and China, the current study is a comparative analysis of interviewers’ questioning practices and the cultural underpinnings of those questions. The analysis focuses on the interviewers’ question-word interrogatives in the discourse context of multiple Turn Construction Units (multi-TCUs). The study demonstrates similar interviewing strategies between two datasets including couching queries in partial knowledge of the guest’s “celebrity-induced experiences,” and using the presupposition function of question-word interrogatives to “control” responses. Significant differences exist: The English interviews primarily reference the guest’s behaviors/activities as context for query, and frame the interviewee’s first-person accounts as particularizations of commonly shared ‘tellables.’ The Chinese interviews tend to use external reference-points, particularly the behavior and sentiments of others, thus constructing a comparative/contrastive angle from which the guest relays first-person accounts.


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