Domande retoriche nel Bundestag. Un'analisi prosodica

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The plenary sessions of the German Parliament are one of the vital components of the legislative process and are used as a platform to discuss new laws and present the opinions of MPs regarding various issues and matters of State. For this reason, the speeches held within these sessions are usually monologues uttered with a persuasive intent and they present a widespread use of interrogative sentences. In this context, however, questions tend to lose their primary information-seeking function and are instead produced with a rhetorical intention (rhetorical questions) or in order to aid the narration or to keep the audience engaged (topic-setting questions). Context is the first element that allows questions to be marked as non-canonical and, indeed, in the monologues within the plenary sessions, almost all interrogatives deviate from their information-seeking function because a reply is never expected from the audience. Another aspect that is worth analysing is prosody and whether intonational patterns can contribute to the marking of questions as non-canonical by themselves or in co-occurrence with other elements. This study is aimed at analysing spontaneous speech and focuses mainly on topic-setting questions (and their differences and similarities with the prosody of rhetorical questions). The corpus for this research comprises 40 rhetorical questions and 55 topic-setting questions taken from 12 plenary sessions of the German Parliament which were annotated prosodically with GToBI and analysed using PRAAT. The analysis focused mainly on nuclear accents, boundary tones and nuclear contours. After the preliminary perceptive analysis prenuclear contours and intensity were also observed to be key prosodic traits. The subsequent acoustic analysis was aimed at confirming the hypotheses of the perceptive analysis and showed characteristic patterns for topic-setting questions such as rising and progredient contours in wh-questions and the use of emphatic accents.
Titolo tradotto del contributo[Autom. eng. transl.] Rhetorical questions in the Bundestag. A prosodic analysis
Lingua originaleItalian
EditorePeter Lang
Numero di pagine190
ISBN (stampa)978-3-631-88199-6
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022

Serie di pubblicazioni



  • prosodica, fonologia tedesca, linguaggio politico, domande retoriche, domande non canoniche
  • prosody, German phonology, political speech, rhetorical questions, non-canonical questions


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