Short answers as tests: A post-suppositional view on wh-questions and answers
Linmin Zhang
June 2023
 

This paper explores a post-suppositional view on wh-questions and their answers with dynamic semantics. Inspired by Brasoveanu (2013); Charlow (2017); Bumford (2017), I propose a unified treatment of items like modified numerals, focus items, and wh-items: they (i) introduce a discourse referent (dref) in a non-deterministic way and (ii) impose definiteness tests (and additional tests) in a delayed, post-suppositional manner at the sentential / discourse level. Thus, with a question like ‘who smiled’, the (maximally informative) dref ‘the one(s) who smiled’ is derived. A short answer like ‘Mary and Max’ is considered another post-supposition-like, delayed test, checking whether the dref ‘the one(s) who smiled’ is identical to (or includes) the sum Mary⊕Max. I analyze various question-related phenomena to see how far this proposal can go.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007300
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: InqBnB4
keywords: wh-questions, dynamic semantics, post-suppositions, semantics
previous versions: v1 [May 2023]
Downloaded:595 times

 

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