eesti teaduste
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The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society cover
The Yearbook of the Estonian Mother Tongue Society
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PDF | doi:10.3176/esa59.05

Kirsi Laanesoo

Directive what interrogatives in Estonian spoken interaction
The article focuses on a construction that begins with the interrogative pronoun mis (what in nominative) or mida (what in partitive) and functions as a prohibition or a reproach (e.g. what are you yelling). These directive interrogatives are addressed to a person who is present in the ongoing conversation or to a third party. For this research 36 directive interrogatives beginning with mis or mida were analysed. The purpose of this research was to study what social ACTIONS these interrogatives perform in everyday Estonian interaction and to find out what characteristics distinguish these directive interrogatives from real questions. Directive interrogatives beginning with mis and mida are multifunctional; they carry out different ACTIONS simultaneously, but in different cases one ACTION is primary, others are secondary. According to the primary ACTION, the interrogatives can be divided into prohibitions and reproaches. At the same time, these interrogatives can carry out secondary ACTIONS such as expressing statements or accusations. Also, these interrogatives are used in playful contexts to tease other discourse participants. The analysis shows that directive interrogatives differ from real questions mainly in prosody and semantics. Directive interrogatives have a distinct intonation that comes from specific stress and pitch accents. Semantically, the main characteristic that distinguishes directive interrogatives from information-requesting interrogatives is that most of the studied interrogatives contain a marked phrase or a negatively loaded verb that conveys the negative stance of the speaker.


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