The act of questioning is the primary speech interaction between an
institutional speaker and someone outside the institution. These roles
dictate their language practices. "Why Do You Ask?" is the first collected
volume to focus solely on the question/answer process, drawing on a range
of methodological approaches like Conversational Analysis, Discourse
Analysis, Discursive Psychology, and Sociolinguistics-- and using as data
not just medical, legal, and educational environments, but also
less-studied institutions like telephone call centers, broadcast journalism
(i.e. talk show interviews), academia, and telemarketing.
An international roster of well-known contributors addresses such issues
as: the relationship between the syntax of the question and its discourse
function; the kind of institutional work that questions perform; the degree
to which the questioner can control the direction of the conversation; and
how questions are used to repackage responses, to construct meaning, and to
serve the institutional goals of speakers.
"Why Do You Ask?" will appeal to linguists and others interested in
institutional discourse, as well as those interested in the
grammatical/pragmatic nature of questions.