Ovvietà e ridondanza della domanda retorica: dalla risposta implicata alla risposta esplicita

Patrizia Sorianello


The study contains some considerations on the indirect nature of the rhetorical question (RQ). The RQ is a non-prototypical speech act in which the interrogative form does not coincide with the conveyed meaning; it does not perform the function of an information-seeking question, for this reason it is not followed by a verbalized explicit answer. This study will explore the most representative features of RQs, by referring to its indirect status and to the field of possible responses. With regard to the latter aspect, some examples extracted from a speech corpus of spontaneous Italian will be discussed. We will try to demonstrate how the presence of a response is not incompatible with the semantic-pragmatic features of RQs nor with the functions more frequently performed in spontaneous speech.

Parole chiave

Rhetorical questions; implicit meaning; implicit and explicit answers

Full Text


Riferimenti bibliografici

Anzilotti G.I., 1982, “The rhetorical question as an indirect speech device in English and Italian”, in Canadian Modern Language Review, 38, pp. 290-302.

Asu E.L., Sahkai H., Lippus P., 2020, “The prosody of rhetorical and information-seeking questions in Estonian: preliminary results”, in Proceeding of the 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody, 25-28 May 2020, Tokyo, Japan, 381-384.

Caponigro I., Sprouse J., 2007, “Rhetorical questions as questions”, in Puig-Waldmuller E. (Ed.), Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung, 11, Barcelona, Spain, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, pp. 121-133.

Crisari M., 1974, “Sugli usi non istituzionali delle domande”, in Lingua e Stile, 1, pp. 29-56.

Dehé N., Braun B., Wochner D., 2018, “The prosody of rhetorical vs. information-seeking questions in Icelandic”, in Klessa, K., Bachan J., Wagner A., Karpiński M., Śledziński D. (Eds.), Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody, Poznań, pp. 403-407.

Fava E., 1995, “Il tipo interrogativo”, in Renzi L., Salvi G., Cardinaletti A. (a cura di), Grande grammatica italiana di consultazione, vol. 3, Tipi di frase, deissi, formazione delle parole, Bologna, Il Mulino, pp. 70-127.

Frank J., 1990, “You call that a rhetorical question?ˮ Forms and functions of rhetorical questions in conversation”, in Journal of Pragmatics, 14 (5), pp. 723-738.

Gutiérrez Rexach J., 1998, “Rhetorical question, relevance and scales”, in Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses, 11, pp. 139-155.

Han C., 2002, “Interpreting interrogatives as rhetorical questions”, in Lingua, 112, pp. 112-229.

Ilie C., 1994, What else can I tell you? A pragmatic study of English rhetorical questions as discursive and argumentative acts, in Stockholm Studies in English, vol. 72. Stockholm, Almqvist & Wiksell International.

Jung V., Schrott A., 2003, “A question of time? Question types and speech act shifts from a historical-contrastive perspective: some examples from Old Spanish and Middle English”, in Jasczolt K.M., Turner K. (Eds.), Meaning Through Language Contrast, Amsterdam, John Benjamins, pp. 345-371.

Miura I., Hara N., 1995, “Production and perception of rhetorical questions in Osaka Japanese”, in Journal of Phonetics, 23, pp. 291-303.

Rohde H., 2006, “Rhetorical questions as redundant interrogatives”, in San Diego Linguistics Paper, 2, San Diego, University of California, pp. 134-168.

Rooy R. van, 2003, “Negative polarity items in questions: Strength as relevance”, in Journal of Semantics, 20(3), pp. 239-273.

Rossano F., 2010, “Questioning and responding in Italian”, in Journal of Pragmatics, 42, pp. 2756-2771.

Sadock J.M., 1971, “Queclaratives”, in Papers from the Seventh Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, (CLS 7), Chicago, Linguistics Society, pp. 223-231.

Schmidt-Radefeldt J., 1977, “On the so called ‘rhetorical questions’”, in Journal of Pragmatics 1, pp. 375-392.

Sorianello P., 2018, “Tra prosodia e pragmatica: il caso delle domande retoriche”, in Studi e Saggi Linguistici, LVI (2), pp. 39-71.

Sorianello P., 2019, “‘A che serve saperlo?’ Funzioni pragmatiche e variazioni intonative della domanda retorica”, in Nuzzo E., Vedder I. (Eds.), Lingue in contesto: la prospettiva pragmatica, Studi AItLA 8, Milano, Officinaventuno, pp. 89-108.

Sorianello P., 2020, “Sul riconoscimento percettivo delle domande retoriche”, in Romito L. (a cura di), La variazione linguistica in condizioni di contatto: contesti acquisizionali, lingue, dialetti e minoranze in Italia e nel mondo, Studi AISV 7, Officinaventuno, Milano, pp. 341-360.

Stati S., 1982, “Le frasi interrogative retoriche”, in Lingua e Stile, XVII(2), pp. 195-207.

Wochner D., Schlegel J., Dehe N., Braun B., 2015, “The prosodic marking of rhetorical questions in German”, in Interspeech 2015, 16th Annual Conference of the international speech communication association, Dresden, Germany, September 6-10, 2015, pp. 987-991.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15162/1970-1861/1667


  • Non ci sono refbacks, per ora.