Faculté des lettres et sciences humaines

Les demandes de définition en français parlé. Aspects grammaticaux et interactionnels

De Stefani, Elwys

In: Revue Tranel (Travaux neuchâtelois de linguistique), 2005, vol. 41, p. 147-163

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    This article aims to analyze a construction which is commonly described as an interrogative structure that speakers use to ask for a clarification of a comprehension problem. In spoken French, ça veut dire quoi? seems to be the most employed form when clarification is required. In many cases, the structure is followed or preceded by a constituent which is co-referential to the clitic ça, thus leading to a dislocated construction, such as ça veut dire quoi quinquennal? First, these forms – as well as similar expressions, like qu'est-ce que ça veut dire – will be analyzed with regards to their information structure (topic/focus). Thereafter, the emphasis is put on the functions which these constructions accomplish in interaction, whereby their sequential positioning as part of an adjacency pair (of the question-answer type) is taken into account. If in numerous cases the second part of the adjacency pair is expected to be ça veut dire…, in other cases the «answer»-part is expressed in another way. On these bases, the analysis will identify the different discourse tasks that speakers engaged in an interaction accomplish by using these forms.