Thema's en trends in de sociolinguistiek 5
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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This paper analyzes how hypothetical questions are imbedded in their local conversational context. Hypothetical questions occur in contexts where the object of conversation is to appear in the near future. In studies on the communicative practice in job interviews and AIDS-counselling it is observed that hypothetical questions do not occur in isolation, but that they are preceded and followed by other interrelated questions. We examined the use of hypothetical questions in meetings between social workers of the Child Protection Board and prospective adoptive parents. We focused in particular on the preliminary conversational work that has to be done before a hypothetical question and be asked and on the conversational patterns in which a hypothetical situation can be discussed. Thirty-seven discourse-units including a hypothetical question were analyzed. The results of the analysis provide a systematic overview of talking about future pedagogic problems in the institutional setting of the Child Protection Board in the Netherlands.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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