Both authors contributed equally, with their names being listed in alphabetical order.
Soliciting Accounts With Why-Interrogatives in Conversation
Article first published online: 1 FEB 2011
© 2011 International Communication Association
Journal of Communication
Volume 61, Issue 1, pages 94–119, February 2011
How to Cite
Bolden, G. B. and Robinson, J. D. (2011), Soliciting Accounts With Why-Interrogatives in Conversation. Journal of Communication, 61: 94–119. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-2466.2010.01528.x
- Issue published online: 1 FEB 2011
- Article first published online: 1 FEB 2011
This article investigates the action of directly soliciting accounts with why-interrogatives (e.g., Why did you do that?). Using conversation analysis, this article argues that why-interrogatives are Janus-faced. On one hand, as types of questions, they index an epistemic gap between questioners and answerers and thus the possibility that answerers are able to provide accounts that questioners did not previously know about. On the other hand, why-interrogatives claim some epistemic access to the accountable event and communicate a stance that it does not accord with common sense and thus is inappropriate or unwarranted. Why-formatted interrogatives display a challenging stance toward the accountable event and responsible agent(s) and are, thus, frequently coimplicated in complaining, criticizing, and blaming.