In economic news interview, the interviewee may deliberately dodge the interviewer's question. This communicative strategy is termed as "evasion" and understood as a set of linguistic devices intentionally used by the interviewee to provide no or only part of the information explicitly requested by the interviewer's question to cater for certain communicative needs. In order to have a comprehensive understanding of this strategy, a qualitative study has been carried out based on the data collected from TV interviews and interview transcripts published in newspapers within the conceptual framework constructed on the basis of Jef Verschueren's Linguistic Adaptation Theory. An adaptation model of evasion in economic news interview has been generated which encompasses three components: strategies, adaptability and functions.
A package of linguistic devices makes possible the realization of evasion. They vary along the two dimensions of overt and covert evasion. The interviewee may explicitly refuses to answer a question by organizing information in four ways, namely, simple refusal, refusal with account, refusal with partial information and refusal with account and partial information. Covert evasion is done to conceal the fact that an evasion is in progress. It can be done by operating on the question, resorting to circumstantial factors or leaving room for reply. Under each of these three covert practices of evasion some specific devices are found out. These strategies provide linguistic tools for the interviewee to cope with the interviewer's tough questions.
The component of strategies concerns how the interviewee evades questions. The second component, adaptability, is associated with why evasion is chosen. The evasion-linked adaptation process in economic news interview can be divided into self-oriented adaptation and company-oriented adaptation. The former is targeted at the achievement of self-directed communicative needs which is to the advantage of the interviewee himself and the latter is aimed at the realization of company-directed communicative needs which benefits the interviewee's company. The adaptation model holds that evasion is utilized to adapt to the requirements of contextual correlates. The research findings reveal that evasion is employed to adjust to safety, face and self-disclosure if the adaptation is self-oriented. Those taking effect in the company-oriented adaptation come from either inside or outside the company. Intra-corporate variables are corporate position and intra-corporate social relationship; extra-corporate variables are confidentiality, social understanding, laws and regulations, extra-corporate social relationship and investor confidence. The examination of contextual correlates leads to the conclusion that evasion is a product of linguistic adaptation.
The investigation of the third component, functions, answers the question of why evasion can be used to achieve the interviewee's communicative goal in economic news interview. The functions of evasion exist in two aspects, namely, self-gratification and corporate image/reputation maintenance. Specifically, evasion operates to realize the interviewee's self-directed communicative needs and company-directed communicative needs in economic news interview. Both aspects of functions involve some sub-functions.
Evasion in economic news interview has been examined from a functional perspective and three facets of it have been investigated. The research findings may illuminate further studies of this interesting language phenomenon.