(Dis)aligning across different linguacultures. Pragmatic questions from original to dubbed film dialogue
Multilingua. Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication
Year of publication
In original and dubbed film dialogue, direct questions are a means to depict interpersonal relationships on screen. In particular, pragmatic questions (i.e. non-questioning, rhetorical interrogatives) are frequently employed to mark alignment among interactants, in the form of affiliative and disaffiliative interrogatives, respectively expressing positive and negative stance. Based on the exploration of the Pavia Corpus of Film Dialogue, the current study aims at investigating the ways in which affiliative and disaffiliative questions are constructed in original English filmic speech and in Italian dubbing. The two dialogue types show rather high similarity in the distribution of pragmatic questions – with a notable prevalence of disaffiliative interrogatives carrying conflict-initiating role. However, different strategies are privileged in the two languages for the linguistic construction of stance. The English source text does not rely on a single and specific pattern to signal affiliation, while it marks disaffiliation through inserts, emotionally-loaded chunks and non-canonical word order in the interrogative. Conversely, dubbed Italian frequently draws on weak connectors to express disalignment and prefers different types of syntactically marked structures in the construction of affiliation. Findings thus suggest a certain degree of autonomy for dubbed dialogue in the selection of specific linguistic markers to transfer and re-portray interpersonal relationships in the target linguaculture.