Evening lecture: How much do we know when we know who went to the party? Experimental investigations into the exhaustivity of embedded questions and the modulating effect of particles

Vortragende(r) Zimmermann, Malte
Institution(en) Universität Potsdam
Workshop/Tagung Evening lecture at XPrag.de Summerschool
Datum 15.08.2019
Uhrzeit 18:00 Uhr
Ort Lecture Hall 1.101, first floor, Dorotheenstr. 24, 10117 Berlin
Link to XPrag.de summerschool webpage

In this talk, I present and discuss the results of four experiments carried out in the ExQ project (Bombi, Chark, Fricke, Onea, Zimmermann). The experiments deal (i.) with the interpretation of German embedded questions as strong exhaustive (SE) or intermediate exhaustive (IE), respectively, and (ii.) with how these readings are affected by the presence of the attenuating and quantifying particles schon and w-alles. Our results re (i.) confirm earlier findings of Chemla & Cremers (2017), but with different experimental methodologies. Both SE- and IE-readings are attested under the embedding verb wissen ‘know’, and the availability of the IE-reading increases with erzählen ‘tell’, which can be interpreted as a speech-act verb (Heim 1994). Re (ii.), we will show that the quantifying particle w-alles contributes to the at-issue meaning of embedded questions, contrary to claims in Reis (1992). In particular, the meaning of w-alles can be negated. Secondly, we will argue (and hopefully present experimental data) that the attenuating particle schon ‘in a sense’ pushes the meaning of embedded questions under wissen ‘know’ towards the weaker IE-interpretation. We also show that schon can be used to block other conversational implicatures, from which we conclude that the stronger SE-reading of embedded questions is also derived by pragmatic sttrengthening, as argued e.g. in Uegaki (2015).