Rhetorial Question-WHY

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Post  melissamarch on Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:17 pm

On page 94, gives an example of the rhetorical question WHY:


I was wondering if people have seen this used often out in the community? I know that I have seen it during formal presentations when the Deaf speaker is speaking to a large audience and wishes to set up his topic discussion for the the rest of the presentation (formal register), but I have not seen it used in everyday conversations (informal register) out in the community. And yet, I know that it is taught in ASL classes and listed as one of the prime examples in the book. Are other people noticing this same pattern when they see Deaf folks out at parties or community events as well?

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Post  Rachele Sanchez on Tue Feb 12, 2013 4:42 pm

Yes you're right. I've gone to many deaf events and have also noticed it isn't common to see why used as a rhetorical question. I do have a few deaf friends who use it as because though. I feel it is more formal but they were just taught like that and continued using it.

Rachele Sanchez

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Post  Adais on Thu Feb 14, 2013 9:47 am

I think the reason why it is used more in formal conversations is because the rhetorical question (WHY) is used to make emphasis on the reason why something is the way it is, or perhaps to incorporate more information and include details that expand a subject or statement. I have seen it used to substitute the word (BECAUSE) , for example, when saying: " I am tired BECAUSE I worked all night yesterday", signers translate it as: "me tired, why? yesterday me work all night" . At least that is the way I have been noticing it and I have also used it in several occasions. When we are giving a speech in front of a class or at any other formal setting, we might use the rhetorical questions to provide details and ensure that our audience understands the message we intend to transmit, however, when we are talking to our friends, we feel comfortable, we might not see the need to be so proper, hence, we do not use it.


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Post  Evelyn Gutierrez on Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:13 pm

I agree with Rachele that many Deaf individuals don't use "WHY" as a rhetorial question. They use the sign "BECAUSE" instead of "WHY". Now, I have seen interpreters use the sign "WHY" as a rhetorial question and the reason is that it is appropriate.

Evelyn Gutierrez

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Post  Rafael Treviño on Thu Feb 21, 2013 12:15 am

The times when I see rhetorical questions used in the informal register are usually when a person is telling a story or a joke. The rhetorical questions act as a device to build up anticipation in the audience.
Rafael Treviño
Rafael Treviño

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