4.2.3.3 Questions and tag questions

Questions are a common linguistic form in this discussion. They are used frequently by B5, and appear to be an important factor in his control of the floor. He uses questions competitively, to coerce others into agreement, and to challenge other speakers. Examples of this occur at lines 54-55, and lines 57-58:

54/55 B5: who says that's Loch Ness

57/58 B5: is there any (.) bits that says that that is Loch Ness

B5 does ask a question at line 84, which appears to be introducing an idea for discussion, but G4 ignores it. B6 and G4 both use questions competitively to oppose B5 and to control the discussion:

45. B6: what do you mean (to B5)

46/47. G4: how could it be two boats Christopher (to B5)

G4 also uses questions to take the floor from B5 and give it to B6 and B7.

108. G4: what do you think Stephen (to B6)

108/9. G4: don't you think that (.) it'd be a good idea if they could

clean a bit (to B6 and B7)

G4 uses questions effectively to take to floor from B5, and gain a turn herself, although she does not succeed in enlisting the explicit support of the other two boys, as she attempts to do.

Regarding tag questions in the discussion, these are used coercively, to persuade, or produce a semblance of consent where in fact dissent exists. B5 uses two formal tag questions which appear in context to be coercive, and six informal tag questions, usually of the form 'ken'.

19. B5: you're not going to get none are you

3/4. B5: see ken he's famous ken

G4 is the only other speaker to use a tag question in this discussion, and she also uses a coercive tag:

25. G4: it was just round the castle wasn't it

B5, B6, and G4 all use questions as a way to control the floor and direct the discussion. B5 and G4 in particular, excepting B5's use of the informal tag 'ken', appear to use question and tag question forms to a similar extent and for a similar effect, ie. both are competitive in this respect.


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