Maren Ebert-Rohleder

Kontakt: maren.ebert-rohlederspam prevention@uni-tuebingen.de



  • Seit Februar 2019: Wissenschaftliche Angestellte und Doktorandin im Graduiertenkolleg 1808 „Ambiguität – Produktion und Rezeption“ an der Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • Juni 2018 - Januar 2019: Studentische Hilfskraft am Lehrstuhl Prof. Dr. Susanne Winkler
  • Oktober 2018: Erstes Staatsexamen  im Fach Geschichte
  • April 2018: Erstes Staatsexamen im Fach Englisch
  • November 2018 - Dezember 2018: Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft am SfB 833 A7: Fokus und Extraktion in komplexen Konstruktionen und Inselkonfigurationen
  • Oktober 2016 - Oktober 2018: Stipendiatin der Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
  • Oktober 2014 - Mai 2015: Foreign Language Assistant, Lichfield UK
  • März 2012 - Juni 2018: Studentische Hilfskraft am Seminar für Zeitgeschichte, Tübingen
  • Oktober 2012 - Oktober 2018: Studium der Fächer Englisch, Geschichte für das Lehramt an Gymnasien an der Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen



  • Rhetorische Fragen
  • Fragen
  • Pragmatik


Abstract: Functions of Rhetorical Questions in Political Speeches ( Arbeitstitel)

Questioning in political speeches, especially the form-function ambiguity of questions is hardly investigated. While the syntactical appearance of a question stays the same, the function changes concerning with context. For example, in everyday communication, intuitively the sentence “Do we make the deals?” is a genuine question and the speaker distinctly expects an answer since s/he wants to know if deals will be negotiated. However, if the context changes, a new interpretation may occur. Donald Trump asked the same question in a political rally during the presidential election campaign in August 2016 (Remarks at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin). Syntactically the example remains a yes/no-question; subsequently, there are two possible answers, “yes” or “no”. Whereas in everyday language the meaning is clear, and the speaker expects an answer, one can assume that due to the political speech context the question is meant to be rhetorical. Further, in contrast to the general assumption that RQs do not elicit an answer, in the example, Trump offers an answer “no” (Han (1998), Sadock (1971), van Rooy (2003)). The form-function ambiguity raises the question of whether genuine questions are yet possible in political speeches. If so, are there any markers to solve the form-function ambiguity? Yet as I will show that, their context-dependence calls for a pragmatic explanation (Ilie 1994). Besides an empirical investigation of English politicians, I investigate the appearance of questions in German political speeches to show similarities and differences.
Select Bibliography
Han, Chung-hye (1998). The Structure and Interpretation of Imperatives: Mood and Force in     Universal Grammar. Ph.D. Diss., University of Pennsylvania.
Ilie, Cornelia (1994). What else can I tell you? A Pragmatic Study of English Rhetorical Questions as Discursive and Argumentative Acts. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell.
Sadock, Jerrold (1971) “Queclaratives.” CLS 7, 223-231.
Van Rooy, Robert (2003) “Negative Polarity Items in Questions: Strength as Relevance.” Journal of Semantics 20 (3), 239-273.
Trump, Donald. “Remarks at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin”. The American Presidency Project

www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/remarks-the-ki-convention-center-green-bay-wisconsin, Accessed 1st April 2019.



  • “Questions and Communicative Functions in Political Speech”. 01.02.2021, Text, Universität Konstanz.


Workshops (Organisation)

  • “Information Structure and Ambiguity: The Process of Integrating Sentences into Discourse”. Internationaler Workshop. 7.-8.10.2019, Universität Tübingen.