Volume 26, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1018-2101
  • E-ISSN: 2406-4238


This study deals with the use of expository questions as discourse strategy in (4 c. B.C.), a foundational text of Daoism. We treat this particular type of non-information-seeking questions (e.g. “ Because…”) as a manifestation of conversational monologues, which are themselves fictive kinds of interactions between the original writer and subsequent reader(s) (Pascual 2002, 2014). We further analyze expository questions as constructions of intersubjectivity (cf. Verhagen 2005, 2008), involving a viewpoint blend (Dancygier and Sweetser 2012), integrating the perspectives of the writer, the assumed readers and the discourse characters. We hope to show that–counter to what is commonly assumed in discourse studies–conversationalization is not restricted to modern institutional discourse (Fairclough 1994) or spoken informal speech (Streeck 2002).


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