Pragmatic Functions of Questions in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun

Samuel Adebayo Omotunde, Samuel Alaba Akinwotu, Esther Morayo Dada


Questioning is an instructional process that is not only central to verbal interaction in the classroom but also essential to negotiation of meaning in discourse. Existing studies dealing with functions of questions have only identified few functions which questions perform in discourse probably because the scholars who worked on them have not explored varied situations and contexts which necessitate asking questions whose functions are totally different from the ones already identified in the literature. Hence, the current research investigates the pragmatic functions of questions in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun. The major advantage of using this source of data is that, it, unlike previous studies which investigate data from premeditated sources, this source provides rich and varied naturally-occurring contexts for asking different questions which perform different functions. The study is driven by insight from the concept of pragmatic competence. On the whole, the research identified nine novel pragmatic functions of questions which have not been documented in the literature. These include questions to indicate annoyance, questions to foster interpersonal relationship, questions to persuade somebody to do something, questions for showing disapproval and so on. These findings implicate that in a bid to build on a learner’s competence in a particular language, such a learner should be introduced to the importance of contexts in determining the function which a particular question is meant to perform in any communicative encounter.


Functions of Questions, Half of a Yellow Sun, Chimamanda Adichie, Pragmatic Competence, Questions to Convey Anxiety, Questions to Insult/Abuse, Questions for the purpose of Persuasion

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