Posted: Feb 27, 2019 2:32 pm
by don't get me started
Fallible wrote:My interpretation might be wrong. When I hear 'don't you like pizza?' it comes after someone has expressed reluctance to get pizza- 'oh - don't you like pizza?' But now you've said that, maybe the way Piper said it is to get someone to join him in is liking of pizza. Well, this is all very confusing...

A lot of the ways that conversations unfold is by the current speaker projecting forward (adumbrating) the expected response that will be forthcoming in the next speaker's turn (This is not limited to the question/answer adjacency pair, but also works for other paired turns such as assessment followed by agreement/disagreement, offer followed by accept or reject and so on.)

In English these kinds of negative polarity questions adumbrate an expected next turn that aligns with the expectation embedded in the prior turn. In the example sentence you gave, it is interesting that you used the word 'oh'. Far from being a minor and meaningless particle it fulfills a wide variety of functions in discourse. Its overarching role is described as a 'change of state token'
(Heritage. 1984).

In your example sentence the speaker is stating that they had an expectation that the recipient liked pizza, but some recent action or utterance suggested that this expectation is not valid, that is they (the speaker) has undergone a change of state, and the speaker wishes to confirm this newly-arrived at state of understanding. That is, the speaker is expecting a 'no' answer to the posed question.

'No' is usually a dispreferred answer (uttered after hestiation, restarts, mitigations, false agreements and so on). In this case, because the question is framed in this manner, the expected and forthcoming 'no' is NOT dispreferred and can be uttered at turn initial position without causing a threat to face.

In English, the response to these kinds of negative polarity questions pays no particular attention to the form of the questions and answers in accordance with the truth condition.
A: It's not raining is it?
B: (Lifts curtain and looks out of the window at blue sky)- 'No'.

A's question could be stated as 'Isn't it raining?/ It's raining, isn't it?/ Is it raining? If B looks out of the window and sees a blue sky, then the answer will be the same - No. (It isn't raining)

In Japanese it works a little bit differently.

The negative question 雨が降っていませんか 
[Ame (rain) ga (topic particle) futeimasu (falling) masen (negator) ka (Question particle)] Is translatable as 'Isn't it raining?'
The recipient of this question, looking out of the window and seeing blue skies answers 'Yes' rather than 'No'.

This is because the answer responds to the valency of the question rather than the truth condition.
In effect the answerer says 'Yes, you are right. It isn't raining.'
As you can imagine, the possibilities for misunderstandings between Japanese speakers and English speakers are many, whichever language they happen to be speaking.

Heritage, J. (1984). A change-of-state token and aspects of its sequential placement.In J.M. Atkinson, J. Heritage, & K.Oatley, (Eds.), Structures of social action: Studies in conversation analysis, pp. 299-345. Cambridge University Press.