Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Joshua Raclaw, PhD

Committee Member

Maria-Eirini Panagiotidou, PhD

Committee Member

Innhwa Park, PhD


Using Conversation Analysis, this thesis examines how Senators resist transformative answers (Stivers & Hayashi, 2010) in the context of U.S. Senate and House hearings. In particular, I identify how Senators use question reformulations and metalinguistic commentary to resist recipient’s transformative responses and pursue a more adequate response. In examining Senators’ use of metalinguistic commentary, I identify four strategies used in my data: (1) to highlight the preference for type-conformity that the YNI has made relevant (e.g., “yes or no”), (2) to comment on the character of the prior question (e.g., as a “direct” or “specific” question), (3) to highlight the inadequate and transformative nature of the responses (e.g., framing the question as still being unanswered even after the recipient has provided a response), and (4) to clarify the agenda or scope of the original question (e.g., “I’m not asking X, I’m asking Y”). My thesis examines the sequential position in which these different forms of resistance occur, simultaneously examining which practices are (in)effective at mobilizing an adequate response from the question recipient.