|Title||The disaffiliative use of ‘did you know' questions in Arabic news interviews: The case of Aljazeera's ‘The Opposite Direction'|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Aljazeera, Arabic, broadcast news interviews, confrontational questioning, did you know, disaffiliation|
|Publisher||SAGE Publications Ltd|
This article studies the use of ‘hal taʔlaam' (‘did you know', hereafter) questions by the interviewer (IR) as a discursive strategy to block the interviewees' (IEs') agenda and stance in Aljazeera's ‘The Opposite Direction', a weekly news interview program that broadcasts live in Arabic on Aljazeera. The show has been on the air since Aljazeera's inception, in the mid 1990s. The show hosts two guests with opposing political views, who are pitted against each other in a heated discussion as they represent and defend their own political and institutional affiliation. This article shows how IR uses ‘did you know' questions to express adversarialness with his interviewees. The article argues that IR uses this type of questioning as an agenda blocking practice that the IR orients to as confrontational. The dataset examined in this article shows that ‘did you know' questions do not provide any new information, nor does it seem to expect a response from the addressee. In fact, they are regularly used by the IR in this specific program to provide an account for previous turns that did not receive the desired response from the IE. They are lengthy, said in clear, loud Standard Arabic, and they typically embed ‘hostile presuppositions' and confrontational messages. For the analysis presented here, 20, 50-minute episodes from ‘The Opposite Direction' are examined following Conversation Analysis as the analytic method.