Rhetorical Questions

  • In English, rhetorical questions refer to questions that we ask that we don’t intend for anyone to answer and we don’t answer ourselves.
  • In ASL, rhetorical questions are questions that you ask, then pause (for dramatic effect, of course), and then answer yourself.
  • These questions are only asked about yourself or something you have specific knowledge of because you will be the one answering the question.
  • While these are called “questions” there is actually no asking, but rather a unique style of presenting the information.
  • Wh-signs are typically used at the end of the sentence.
  • What makes this structure rhetorical is that the question is always answered
  • Two parts:
    • Question (ME TIRED WHY?, MY NAME WHAT?, BROTHER FAVORITE ICE-CREAM WHICH?)
    • Answer (ME SLEEP TIME-1 MORNING, A-L-E-X-I-A, CHOCOLATE, ROOM 26)
  • Non-manuals
    • Hold the final wh-sign of the question
    • Raise your eyebrows while you are signing the question
  • Examples:
    • I really want chocolate covered strawberries!
      • ME WANT CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY DIP? YES!
    • Her favorite food is pizza.
      • HER FAVORITE FOOD WHAT? PIZZA.
    • The ASL class will be held in room 432C.
      • ASL CLASS WHERE? ROOM 432C.
  • Notice that the ASL gloss is all capitalized (to represent signs), has punctuation (a question mark) at the end of the question and a period at the end of the answer, has dashes between the letters of any words that are fingerspelled, and has a dash between two words used in English to represent one sign in ASL.
  • The English is written with only the first letter capitalized and there is punctuation (an exclamation point or period, not a question mark since this structure is not asking for information) at the end.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s