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Epistemic implicatures and inquisitive bias: a multidimensional semantics for polar questions

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
This thesis motivates and develops a semantic distinction between two types of polar in- terrogatives available to natural languages, based on data from Persian and English. The first type, which I call an ‘impartial interrogative,’ has as its pragmatic source an ignorant information state, relative to an issue at a particular stage of the discourse. The second type, which I call a ‘partial interrogative’ arises from a destabilized information state, whereby the proposition supported by the information state conflicts with contextually available data. I show that the two types of interrogatives differ in their syntax, and can be distin- guished semantically via the logic of Conventional Implicatures in Potts (2005). I develop the proposal within the framework of inquisitive semantics (Groenendijk and Roelofsen (2009)), extended with Potts (2005)’s multidimensional logic.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Hedberg, Nancy
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