By Michael Fortescue

This essay is an try and increase a believable version of the cognitive techniques at the back of the habit exhibited through speaker-hearers in a selected discourse scenario.

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A: No ! What's it made of ? INDIRECT REALIZATIONS OF DISCOURSE ACTS 57 Q: The Forth Bridge ? A: The Forth Rail Bridge ! Q clearly expects a yes/no answer to his game question at this point ; he gets this, but is immediately asked a question himself, which is not expected. As in the 'in terms of history' example earlier, he as­ sumes that A is being cooperative and therefore relevant, and searches for an appropriate act that the utterance might be performing. Even if he cannot find one at once he can always try treating the utterance as a 'neutral' 'Request Information' according to its form (ASKWh), the appropriate response to which is the search for - and potential expression of - the corresponding answer.

We shall also see, how­ ever, that there remains a certain degree of overlap between response sets for different acts and that we shall have to appeal to propositional content (and discoursal context of a wider sort) to describe how the performance of these acts is recognized as such. What we have been talking about in this chapter are 'discourse acts' - the term to be used henceforth - whereby distinct communica­ tive needs on the part of the speaker (such as the need to elicit some piece of information) are fulfilled, at least potentially, by an ap­ propriate response on the part of the hearer.

Possible response types not actually met in the data are bracketed. (a) Responses to Request for Information It's more or less a red herring, yes. No. Request Information 18 To all polar questions performing this act a minimal 'yes' or 'no' answer is a sufficient response (given suitable propositional content). (b) Responses to Requests for Confirmation Mm. That's ten. No, I didn't say it wasn't a construction. Request Confirmation We might wish to formulate a more general rule for all requests at this point, namely: 'TWENTY 32 Request =*=» QUESTIONS' Comply Refuse Claim Inability to Comply This simply shows what they all have in common.

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