The dynamics of question / answer moves in ELF spoken discourse in cross-cultural migration domains


In this paper we will analyze question and answer moves in a corpus of approximately eight interviews taken from transcripts published on the site Storie migranti ( Our focus will be the different ways questions are employed and formulated to elicit ideational information (Halliday 2004) and also the way in which answers to these same questions are formulated. A major point of interest within cross- cultural migrant domains (Guido 2008) and in particular in the context of asylum seekers using ELF is how the delicate balance of the demands of questioner and answerer are negotiated and satisfied, or not, as the case may be. In addition to purely lingua-structural concerns, we also consider pragmatic considerations within the specific theoretical contexts of relevance (Sperber, Wilson 1986) and conversation implicatures (Grice 1975). With an in-depth analysis of individual cases, we will seek to identify the instances where answers satisfactorily provide the information elicited by the question in view of being able to describe successful strategies both from the perspective of questioner and answerer within the specific context of spoken interaction between ELF users in cross-cultural migration domains.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v38p65


Austin J.L. 1962, How to Do Things with Words, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Christiansen T. 2011, Cohesion: A Discourse Perspective. Peter Lang, Bern.

Cornish F. 1999, Anaphora, Discourse and Understanding, Oxford University Press,


Croce B. 1908, Estetica come scienza dell’espressione e linguistica generale, Giuseppe

Laterza e Figli, Bari.

García O. and Wei L. 2014, Translanguaging: Language, Bilingualism and Education,

Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, Basingstoke.

Gojer J. and Ellis A. 2014, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Refugee

Determination Process in Canada: Starting the Discourse, in “New Issues in Refugee Research” 270, Policy Development and Evaluation Service United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva.

Grice H.P. 1975, Logic and Conversation, in Cole P. and Morgan J.L. (eds.), Syntax and Semantics Vol 3 (Speech Acts), Academic Press, New York, pp. 41-58.

Guido M.G. 2008, English as a lingua franca in cross-cultural immigration domains, Peter Lang, Bern.

Labov W. 1994, Principles of linguistic change. Volume I: Internal factors, Blackwell, Oxford.

Levinson S.C. 1983, Pragmatics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Monk R. 1990, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, Jonathan Cape, London.

Sarkar S. 2009, Truth Without Consequence: Reality and Recall in refugees Fleeing

Persecution, in “Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law

Online” 37, pp. 6-10.

Schegloff E.A. and Sacks H. 1973, Opening up closings, in “Semiotica” 8 [4], pp. 289-

Searle J.R. 1975, Indirect speech acts, in Cole P. and Morgan J.L. (eds.), Syntax and

Semantics Vol 3 (Speech Acts), Academic Press, New York, pp. 59-82.

Sperber D. and Wilson D. 1986, Relevance, Communication and Cognition, Blackwell,


Sinclair J. and Coulthard R.M. 1975, Toward an Analysis of Discourse, Oxford University

Press, Oxford.

van Dijk, Teun A. 2009. Society and Discourse: How Social Context Influences Text and

Talk, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

VOICE 2011, The Vienna-Oxford International Corpus of English (version 1.1 online).

Vrij A. 2008, Detecting Lies and Deceit: Pitfalls and Opportunities, John Wiley & Sons,


Widdowson H.G. 1984, Explorations in Applied Linguistics 2, Oxford University Press,


Widdowson H.G. 2015, ELF and the pragmatics of language variation, in “Journal of

English as a Lingua Franca” 4 [2], pp 359-372.

Wittgenstein L. 1953, Philosophical Investigations, Blackwell, Oxford.

Full Text: pdf


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribuzione - Non commerciale - Non opere derivate 3.0 Italia License.