Inquisitive Semantics

In May 2019, I gave a mini course on Inquisitive Semantics at the University of Tromsø.

There were three installments:

  1. Polar questions and disjunctions,
  2. wh questions and existentials,
  3. embedded issues.

The three icons link to the three handouts.

Note that on page 7 of the third handout, Theiler, Roelofsen and Aloni (2019) are criticized unduly. They do write: "Conversely, we assume that an interrogative complement or matrix clause is never informative. This means that the alternatives associated with an interrogative clause always completely cover the set of all possible worlds." But there is a footnote here: "For simplicity we leave the presuppositions of complement clauses out of consideration here; Appendix C discusses how the proposed account can be extended to deal with such presuppositions." Then in Appendix C it says at one point: "...we can...see from the definition of inquisitive negation...that, just as before, the inquisitive negation of an interrogative complement meaning P with presupposition π(P) is always...{∅}." The key here is that the pseudocomplement is undefined if the argument proposition is – so it does make a difference that the informativity in the wh complement is presuppositional.

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