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Recipient questions as a strategy to launch second stories

Issue: Vol 4 No. 2 (2019)

Journal: East Asian Pragmatics

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DOI: 10.1558/eap.36205


This article reports a study of launching second stories in Chinese conversation. It particularly examines how recipients ask questions about something related to but not explicitly mentioned in the first story. We show that such questions are strategically placed in that they prefigure upcoming stories. The design of the questions may also cast a new light on the first story so that the second story, when told, can be recognised as subsequent to the first in particular ways. We discuss the interactional nature of such questions in relation to Schegloff’s (2007) idea that ‘preness’ is a more general property in action sequences.

Author: Wei Zhang, Xin Peng

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