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Veneeta Dayal

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199281268

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281268.001.0001

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A theory of questions and answers

A theory of questions and answers

Chapter:
(p.24) 2 A theory of questions and answers
Source:
Questions
Author(s):

Veneeta Dayal

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281268.003.0002

Chapter 2 introduces the three classic papers on the semantics of questions: Hamblin 1973, Karttunen 1977, and Groenendijk and Stokhof 1982. Questions as denoting sets of (true) propositions and questions as partitions on possible worlds are discussed as well as the distinction between weak and strong exhaustiveness. Possibilities for bridging these different approaches are presented. Crucial to this is the possibility of separating the question denotation from an answerhood operation that takes questions as argument. The notion of maximality plays a crucial role in the interpretation of number morphology in wh phrases. It also plays a crucial role in the definition of an answerhood operator, which captures presuppositions about existence and informativity. The chapter concludes with a snapshot of a theory of questions and answers that can be taken as a baseline, against which suggestions for modification and refinement suggested in subsequent chapters can be evaluated.

Keywords:   weak exhaustivness, strong exhaustiveness, answerhood operators, maximality, maximal informativity, number morphology, existence presupposition, uniqueness presuppositions, baseline theory

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