On the use of rhetorical questions in tweets related to the Russia-Ukrainian war: Podolyak vs Polyanskiy

Vol.16,No.2(2023)
Discourse and Interaction

Abstract

The paper explores the use of rhetorical questions in Twitter posts of Mykhailo Podolyak (a Ukrainian presidential adviser) and Dmitry Polyanskiy (a Russian official), in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine. The goals of the paper are, among others, to find out what kinds of rhetorical questions are used, what their main communicative functions are, and what differences or similarities can be observed in the use of these questions on Twitter by the two officials. The obtained results indicate that notable, statistically significant differences in the use of rhetorical questions by the two individuals do exist, regarding the form of such questions, who they are addressed at, as well as in terms of the primary functions that they perform in the analysed tweets.


Keywords:
rhetorical questions, Twitter, Russia-Ukrainian war, sarcastic rhetorical questions
Author biography

Špago Džemal

Džemal Špago is Associate Professor at the Department of English Language and Literature (Faculty of Humanities) at Dzemal Bijedic University of Mostar (Bosnia-Herzegovina), where he has worked for the past 16 years. His research interests are mainly focused on rhetorical questions, as well as on the use and perception of insulting language.

References

Badarneh, M. A. (2009) ‘Exploring the use of rhetorical questions in editorial discourse: A case study of Arabic editorials.’ Text & Talk 29(6), 639-659. https://doi.org/10.1515/ TEXT.2009.033
Badarneh, M. A. (2016) ‘Proverbial rhetorical questions in colloquial Jordanian Arabic.’ Folia Linguistica 50(1), 207-242. https://doi.org/10.1515/flin-2016-0007
Bastos, M. T. and Mercea, D. (2017) ‘The Brexit botnet and user-generated hyperpartisan news.’ Social Science Computer Review 37(1), 38-54. https://doi. org/10.1177/0894439317734157
Bessi, A. and Ferrara, E. (2016) ‘Social bots distort the 2016 US Presidential election online discussion.’ First Monday 21(11). Online document. November 2016. Available at https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2982233 (accessed 20 February 2023).
Blankenship, L. K. and Craig, T. Y. (2006) ‘Rhetorical question use and resistance to persuasion: An attitude strength analysis.’ Journal of Language and Social Psychology 25(2), 111-128. https://doi.org/10.1177/0261927X06286380
Caponigro, I. and Sprouse, J. (2007) ‘Rhetorical questions as questions.’ In: Puig-Waldmüller, E. (ed.) Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 11. 121-133. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2007.v11i0.635
Cerović, M. (2016) ‘When suspects ask questions: Rhetorical questions as a challenging device.’ Journal of Pragmatics 105, 18-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.
pragma.2016.09.010
Filik, R., Turcan, A., Thompson, D., Harvey, N., Davies, H. and Turner, A. (2016). ‘Sarcasm and emoticons: Comprehension and emotional impact.’ The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 69(11), 1-42. https://doi.org/10.1080/1747021
8.2015.1106566
Frank, J. (1990) ‘You call that a rhetorical question? Forms and functions of rhetorical questions in conversation.’ Journal of Pragmatics 14, 723-738. https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(90)90003-V
Han, C. (2002) ‘Interpreting interrogatives as rhetorical questions.’ Lingua 112, 201-229. https://doi.org/10.1016/S00243841(01)00044-4
Hautli-Janisz, A., Budzynska, K., McKillop, C., Plüss, B., Gold, V. and Reed, C. (2022) ‘Questions in argumentative dialogue.’ Journal of Pragmatics 188, 56-79. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2021.10.029
Hussain, S., Shahzad, F. and Saud, A. (2021) ‘Analyzing the state of digital information warfare between India and Pakistan on Twittersphere.’ SAGE Open 11(3), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1177/21582440211031905
Ilie, C. (1994) What Else Can I Tell You? A Pragmatic Study of English Rhetorical Questions as Discursive and Argumentative Acts. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
Ilie, C. (1995) ‘The validity of rhetorical questions as arguments in the courtroom.’ In: Eemeren, F. H., Grootendorst, R., Blair, J. A., and Willard, C. A. (eds) Special Fields and cases: Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Argumentation.
73-88. Amsterdam, Netherlands: SICSAT.
Ilie, C. (1999) ‘Question-response argumentation in talk shows.’ Journal of Pragmatics 31(8), 975- 999. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(99)00056-9 Kleinke, S. (2012) ‘Responses to rhetorical questions in English and German internet public news groups.’ Functions of Language 19(2), 174-200. https://doi.org/10.1075/fol.19.2.02kle
Kumar, S., Morstatter, F. and Liu, H. (2014) Twitter Data Analytics. New York: Springer.
McGregor, C. S., Mourão, R. R. and Molyneux, L. (2017) ‘Twitter as a tool for and object of political and electoral activity: Considering electoral context and variance.’ Journal of Information Technology & Politics 14(2), 154-157. https://doi.org/10.1080/19331681.2017.1308289
Neitch, J. and Niebuhr, O. (2022) ‘Research on rhetorical devices in German: The use of rhetorical questions in sales presentations.’ Journal of Psycholinguistic Research 51, 981-1000. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10936-022-09874-8
Oraby, S., Harrison, V., Hernandez, E., Reed, L., Riloff, E. and Walker, M. (2016) ‘Creating and characterizing a diverse corpus of sarcasm in dialogue.’ In: Proceedings of the 17th Annual Meeting of the Special Interest Group on Discourse and Dialogue. 31-41.
Los Angeles: Association for Computational Linguistics. https://doi.org/10.18653/v1/W16-3604
Oraby, S., Harrison, V., Misra, A., Riloff, E. and Walker, M. (2017) ‘Are you serious? Rhetorical questions and sarcasm in social media dialog.’ In: Proceedings of the 18th Annual SIGdial Meeting on Discourse and Dialogue. 310-319. Saarbrücken, Germany. Association for Computational Linguistics. https://doi.org/10.18653/v1/W17-5537
Ott, B. L. (2016) ‘The age of Twitter: Donald J. Trump and the politics of debasement.’ Critical Studies in Media Communication 34(1), 59-68. https://doi.org/10.1080/15295036.2016.1266686
Pain, P. and Chen, G. M. (2019) ‘The President is in: Public opinion and the presidential use of Twitter.’ Social Media + Society 5(2), 1-12. https://doi.
org/10.1177/2056305119855143
Ranganath, S., Hu, X., Tang, J., Wang, S. and Liu, H. (2017) ‘Understanding and identifying rhetorical questions in social media.’ ACM Transactions on Intelligent Systems and Technology 9(1), 1-22. https://doi.org/10.1145/3108364
Rohde, H. (2006) ‘Rhetorical questions as redundant interrogatives.’ San Diego Linguistics Papers 2, 134-168. Available at https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4xd7t5ww (accessed 20 February 2023).
Schaffer, D. (2005) ‘Can rhetorical questions function as retorts? Is the Pope Catholic?’ Journal of Pragmatics 37, 433-460. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2003.12.007
Sharoda, P., Hong, L. and Chi, E. (2011) ‘Is Twitter a good place for asking questions? A characterization study.’ In: Proceedings of the International AAAI Coference on Web and Social Media 5(1), 578-581.
Thornton, D. (2015) ‘The changing nature of modern warfare: Responding to Russian information warfare.’ The RUSI Journal 160(4), 40-48. https://doi.org/10.1080/03071847.2015.1079047
Toplak, M. and Katz, A. N. (2000) ‘On the uses of sarcastic irony.’ Journal of Pragmatics 32(10), 1467-1488. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0378-2166(99)00101-0
van Rooy, R. (2003) ‘Negative polarity items in questions: Strength as relevance.’ Journal of Semantics 20, 239-273. https://doi.org/10.1093/jos/20.3.239
Wilkins, D. J., Livingstone, A. G. and Levine, M. (2019) ‘Whose tweets? The rhetorical functions of social media use in developing the Black Lives Matter movement.’ British Journal of Social Psychology 58(4), 786-805. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjso.12318

Metrics

0

Crossref logo

0


120

Views

43

PDF views