I was wondering if there is a name for a question that you say out loud to convey curiosity about a topic, without necessarily expecting a direct answer from those around you. This may be used to spark a discussion about the topic.

It seems similar to a rhetorical question, but it doesn't seem to fit that definition exactly, because with rhetorical questions it is usually implied that the answer is obvious.

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    Korean has explicit "wondering/thinking aloud" constructions, and I heard it's unusual among languages, but I'm not sure if it's true (or how it's called in English). E.g., "오늘 월요일인가?" would be "Is today Monday?" (wondering aloud - talking to nobody in particular) and "오늘 월요일입니까?" would be "Is today Monday?" (polite asking).
    – jick
    Commented Sep 22, 2021 at 1:04
  • I like your example. And while thinking aloud only partially covers what I mean, I feel like wondering aloud indeed comes closest to what I meant. If you put it in an answer, I'd select that as the best answer.
    – Rik Schaaf
    Commented Dec 19, 2021 at 13:46

1 Answer 1


Thinking out loud, aloud!?)

There no term for yours definition, because 'rhetorical question' fit it at all. But it must be something like 'no-seek-information question' if you want, or something like that.

Ok. I found what you need, it is: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phatic_expression

This is definition for the thinking aloud, small-talks, etc.

  • Thinking out loud is indeed what you are doing when asking such a question. It's not necessarily the name of such a question, but it is close enough to what I was trying to get at. I feel like a phatic expression doesn't fit the description. That is more used for pleasantries and small-talk, like saying "How are you?" when you're greeting someone.
    – Rik Schaaf
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 20:55
  • @Rik Schaaf Ok. Maybe it is: en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illocutionary_act and/or en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perlocutionary_act !?
    – T1nts
    Commented Apr 24, 2021 at 21:23

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