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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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Exhaustive and non-exhaustive answers

Exhaustive and non-exhaustive answers

Chapter:
(p.57) 3 Exhaustive and non-exhaustive answers
Source:
Questions
Author(s):

Veneeta Dayal

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199281268.003.0003

This chapter considers three types of answers: weakly exhaustive, strongly exhaustive, and non-exhaustive/mention-some answers. Two lines of approach are discussed, one that locates the variation between strong and weak exhaustiveness in answerhood operators, another where variation is due to the optional presence of exhaustification operators in the question nucleus. The second issue addressed is the ambiguity between mention-some and mention-all readings. Under one view questions are ambiguous, with different contexts making different readings salient; under another view they only have mention-all readings but partial answers may count as complete answers in certain contexts. The possibility of three classes of predicates, those that select for strong exhaustiveness, those that select for both strong and weak exhaustiveness, and those that select only for weak/non-exhaustiveness is considered as evidence for these distinctions. Negative polarity items are also considered a diagnostic for the grammatical status of the divide between strong, weak, and non-exhaustiveness.

Keywords:   weakly exhaustive answers, strongly exhaustive answers, mention-some answers, partial answers, embedding predicates, negative polarity items, answerhood operators, exhaustification operator, selection

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