Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

Witness protection

Vortragende(r) Theiler, Nadine
Institution(en) ILLC University of Amsterdam
Datum 07.06.2019
Uhrzeit 10:30 Uhr
Ort 4th floor, room 403 (Seminarraum)


The English additive particle also can appear in assertions and polar questions, but not in canonical wh-questions:

(1)  Mary danced all night.

    a. John also danced.

    b. Did John also dance?     

    c. #Who also danced?

It has been suggested that when also appears in a wh-question, it triggers a so-called showmaster interpretation (Umbach, 2012), in which the speaker already has a certain answer in mind when asking the question.

In this talk, I will challenge this generalization based on a previously unnoticed class of questions, which I call summoning questions. To account for the resulting more differentiated empirical picture, I will generalize Beaver and Clark (2008)’s QUD based account of additive particles by lifting it to an inquisitive semantics setting (Ciardelli et al., 2018). This allows us to capture the contribution of also in declaratives and interrogatives in a unified way, while still accounting for its distributional restrictions.