Chapter published in:Surprise at the Intersection of Phenomenology and Linguistics
Edited by Natalie Depraz and Agnès Celle
[Consciousness & Emotion Book Series 11] 2019
► pp. 118–137
Interrogatives in surprise contexts in English
Verbal reactions to surprising situations or surprising information often include interrogative structures rather than exclamatives, contrary to what is assumed in traditional grammars. In such contexts, interrogatives combine requests for information and the expression of surprise (possibly associated with other emotions). Based on enacted data drawn from film scripts, our claim is that different (more or less canonical) forms of interrogatives imply varying levels of cognitive integration: clarification requests, ordinary (non-inferential) questions and inferential questions are on a continuum from less to more cognitively integrated information. Different forms of interrogatives may thus correspond to different speaker-addressee relations and pragmatic patterns. The overall frequency of interrogatives and variety of forms and patterns used may reflect the fact that surprise is more cognitive than other emotions.
Keywords: surprise, interrogative structures, questioning, cognitive emotion, schema theory, evidence
Published online: 06 November 2019
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