Layers of Assertive Clauses: Propositions, Judgements, Commitments, Acts
Manfred Krifka
August 2020

The present article proposes a refined syntactic and semantic analysis of assertive claus-es that comprises their truth-conditional aspects and their speech act potential in com-munication. What is commonly called “illocutionary force” is differentiated into three structurally and functionally distinct layers: a judgement phrase, representing subjective epistemic and evidential attitudes; a commitment phrase, representing the social com-mitment related to assertions; and an act phrase, representing the relation to the common ground of the conversation. The article provides several pieces of evidence for this structure: from the interpretation and syntactic position of various classes of epistemic, evidential, affirmative and speech act-related operators, from clausal complements em-bedded by different types of predicates, from embedded root clauses, and from anapho-ra referring to different clausal projections. The syntactic assumptions are phrased with-in X-bar theory, and the semantic interpretation makes use of dynamic update of com-mon ground, differentiating between informative and performative updates. The object language is German, with particular reference to verb final and verb second structure.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005348
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Berlin
keywords: assertions, speech acts, commitments, common ground, german, epistemics, evidentiality, modality, adverbials, complement clauses, semantics, syntax
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