Volume 6, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1879-9264
  • E-ISSN: 1879-9272
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This paper reports on interrogative (question) use in the informal spontaneous speech of near-native second-language French speakers. Interrogatives present considerable variation in French, and choices of interrogative form depend on semantics, communicative function, and register. Using a corpus of spontaneous conversations between near-native (NNSs) and native speakers (NSs), the inventory of interrogatives used is described; A detailed examination is then given of the question marker (“is it that”), a candidate for overuse in L2 French ( Zwanziger 2008, p. 91 ). The results, from 825 occurrences of interrogative structures, reveal that the NNSs possess extremely similar inventories of interrogative forms to their NS interlocutors and that their interrogative choices are both communicatively and socio-stylistically appropriate. What appears quantitatively as overuse of by two NNSs is, from a communicative point of view, entirely felicitous: Like NSs, the NNSs reserve for several marked interrogative contexts. The results suggest that the NNSs successfully integrate syntactic, semantic, communicative, and sociolinguistic information in spontaneous conversation.


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