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Declarative Questions

Declarative Questions
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  Daav Qusos Critine Gnogon University ofCaloia, Los Angeles 1. Introduction 1.1. Overview Conider the tee entence in (1): (1) a. I it raining b. It' raining c. It' raining. Rising polar interrogtive Rising declarative Falling declarative he poar interrogative in (a) i the prototica way to ak a ye/no qetion. (1 c) i a decarative with aing intonation the canonica device or making a tatement. he decarative with riing intonation indicated by the qetion mark in (1b) i perciay more imir in nction to (1a) thn (1c). h a amiir e o riing decarative i a a kind o poar qetion: (2) It' raining I it raining Intitivey the rie eem to impar qetioning orce to what wod otherie be a tatement. t the tory cot be a impe a (2) gget. It t ot that decative qetion e bject to contexta retriction that don't appy to their interrogative contear. For expe decative qetion are not appropriate in itation where the qetioner i ppoed to be netral or ignorant: (3) [at a committee heing] a. Are yo a member o the Commnit party b. #Yo're a member o the Commnit party c. #Yo're a member o the Commnit party. Frheore nlike interrogative decarative qetion caot be ed ot o the be. (4a) i eicito a an initia remark withot any preceding dicion o perimmon whie (4b) and (4c) are odd in the ame itation. (4 [to coworker eating a piece o rit] a. I that a perimmon b. #hat' a perimmon c. #hat' a perimmon. he act that aing decarative (indicated with a period in (3c)(4c» are ao nacceptabe a qetion in thee circmtce i intitivey nriing bt © 2002 by Chrstn Gnlogson B. Jacksn (d), SALT XI 124-143, Ithaca, NY: Cornll Unvrsty.  DECLARAIVE QUESIONS nonetheless signicant. Given that sg declaratives patte with fallng declaratves rather than interrogatives in the above examples it is natural to seek an explanation for the constraints in the common element of declarative form and that is exactl the approach I will take here. At the sme time the intuition that rising declaratives are more natural as questons than falling ones is undeniable. Examples like () were the risng declaratve pattes with te inteogatve support that intuition: () A: he king of rance is bald. B's response: a. s rnce a monarch b. rance is a monarch c. #rce is a monarch. Since (b) nd (c) differ onl in their intonational contour we must look to the rise for  explntion of the questionlike behavor of rising declaratives.  the account given here the explaation cruciall depends not ust upon the meaning of the rise but on its interaction with declarative fo d with the context. he goal of the paper is to characterize the distribution of declaratives as questions and provide a compositional analsis om which both the restrictions d the questioning use follow. Section 2 introduces distributional data and foulates o of the empirical generalizations on which the analsis is based: (6) eclaratives re not neutral; the conve a bias that interrogatives lack. (7) Rising declaratives like sntactic inteogatives fail to commit the Speer to their propositional content. Section 3 mplements a contextual treatment of bias and neutralit using an articulated version of Stalnaker's (1978) ommon Ground to track eac participant's commitments individuall Section 4 gives an update semantics for rising and falling declaratives from which (6) nd (7) follow accountng for exmples like (3) and (). he restriction exempled b (4) is treated in Section  were I present data supporting the descriptive generalization in (8): (8) eclaratives cn be used as questions onl in contexts where the Addressee is understood as publicl committed to the proposition expressed. he guiding hothesis in explaining the restriction is that questions must be uninfoative with respect to the Addressee a requirement that declaratives can onl meet in certain contexts. he analsis predicts coectl that in addton to their familiar echoing function rising declatives ma be used to question presuppositions and nferences taken to follow om the Addressee's public position whether or not such inference nds its basis in a preceding utternce. 125  126 Cistine Gnlogson 1.2. ssumptins  rely on the minimalpair methodology exemplied in (3)(5): rising declaratives are compaed with interrogatives on the one hnd and with falling declaratives on the other holding constant the lexical content and nucle accent placeent. nterrogatives too can have rising or falling intonation but  restrict attention to the rising vriety. he terms (lar) interrgative and declarative refer to syntactic sentence tes while (lar) questin is the name of a pragatic category to which utterances of both interrogatives and declaratives can belong. Rising d falling intonation are indicated with the standard orthographic devices ' and.' respectively.  count as a rise ny contour whose tail (i.e. postnucle portion) is nonfalling and which ends at a point higher than the nuclear accent. Similrly a fall is nonrising nd ends at a point lower than the nuclear accent. hese categories are adapted om Gussenhoven 1983 but can be expressed in other systems as well. or example the above description of the rise ts the tunes L * H H% L * H L % L * L H% and H* H % in the syste of Pierrehumbert 1980, as modied in Beckman and Pieehumbert 1986. Gussenhoven's system posits three basic contour shapes the rise the fall and the fallrise with variations expressed in terms of modications to each te.  ignore the fallrise and the inventory of modications to the basic contours. 2. Distributional generalizations 2.1. Declarative bias his section documents ways in which rising declaratives patte with falling ones differing om interrogatives. he central observation is that declaratives re unacceptable wherever the Speaker is expected to remain ignorant or neutral. As (9) shows declaratives cnnot be used to elicit information in a unbiased way: (9) in aob interview] a. Have you been convicted of a felony b. # ou've been convicted of a felony c. # ou've been convicted of a felony. (10) illustrates that the issue raised by a declarative question caot be regrded as open or unsettled liable to go either way. n fact in (11) the rising declarative canot be described as a questin at all even though the construction is one that accepts a root clause as the subectauxiliay inversion in (a) demonstrates. (10) t's an open question. a. id she lie to the grand ury b. #She lied to the grad ury. c. #She lied to the grand ury.  DECLARAIVE QUESIONS (11) a The qestion is, does he have the money? b The qestion is, #he has the money? c The qestion is, #he has the money Inteogatives, bt not declatives, c extend a line of iniry sing  so or not as in the qestion from a health insrance form in (12a) (12) Are yo mrried? a If so, does yor spose have health insrance? b #If so, or spose has health insrance? c #If so, yor spose has health insrce eclatives mke poor speclative qestions, ie, qestins designed to instigate thoght or discssion withot necessarily being answere or answerable (13a) might lead into a discssion of the JFK assassination withot commiting the Speaker to any particlar view (13b )(13c) canot be sed to the same effect (13) a Did swald act alone? b #swald acted alone? c #swald acted alone As is already evident, the restrictions on declarative questions extend beyond standd information qestion contexts A pariclarly clear illstration can be seen in (14), where the inteogative nctions as a polite rqest for action rather than for information Declaratives do not share this fnction (14) a Can yo (please) pass the salt? b #Y o can (please) pass the salt? c #Y o cn (please) pass the salt The descriptive generaliation I advance for the examples so far is given in (6): (6) Declaratives e not netral they convey a bias that interrogatives lack In offering (6) as a descriptive generaliation I also offer an imlicit hothesis abot the se of interrogatives in the contexts illstrated namely, that cerain fnctions of interrogatives involve at least the appearce of neutrality I w n't attempt to stify this hpothesis explicitly, which wold reqre casebycase stdy of the vios ses seen above athr, I will take (6) as a reasonable working description, seeking a characteriation of the notions of netrality and bias with the expectation that they will ltimately be sefl in derstanding the range of discorse nctions available for inteogatives as well as declaratives The ip side to the pattes seen so far is that declaratives are sefl when bias rather than netrality is called for hen it comes to cntribting new information, bias is a good thing This is a given for falling eclaratives, the prototpical way to offer a piece of news Bt rising declaratives, too, ave 12  8 Cistine Gnlgsn nfoave potental for many speakers as seen n 15). ee ierrembert 1980 for a smilr contras.) Inerrogaves do no sare tis ncon. 15) a. #Is my name Carl #ll I be yor waier onigt b. y name is Carl I'll be yor waer tonigt c. y name s Carl. I'll be yor water onig. Te man conce of ts paper is e se of declaraives as qesons; b e possibly ofinfoaive se wll be allowed for by e analysis. Tere are oer systemac dstinctions between declaraves and neogaves incldng e fac ta nteogatives bt not declaratve qesons sppor polarity iems lke any nd ever irst 1983 ddleston 1994): 16) a. Is anybody ome b. #Anybody's ome c. #Anybody's ome. c facs do not t in any obvos way nder e generalizaion in 6) b tey do sppor te general vew defended ere namely tat declaratve qesions are no smply a vaant of neogatves bt ave teir own dsinct properies. .. Lack of Speaker commitment A second ccial observaton s at rising declaratives are more naral as qestons tan falling ones. In is section I spport te intiton emprcally by sowng at rising declaratives patte in certain ways wit inteogaves. Te generalzation advanced s tat risng declaratives like inerrogaves fa o commt e peaker to er propositional conten. Tis point emerges n comprson wit falling declatives wic evidently do commt e peaker. First note a rsng declaraves like inteogatives allow for readngs n wc e peer is nderstood o be skeptical abot te propostion expressed. In 17) eiter an ineogave or a declrative may be sed to acknowledge andor ellptcally reerae A's erance; bt only a) and b) are compable w B's followp remk wc sggests at B remans dobl abo e alleged mprovement. Te fallng declarave n 7c) conveys over agreemen w A's opnon ad ts as e effect of inconsisency wi te skepcal folowp. 17) A&B are looking at a coworker's batered and dented car A: s drvng as gotten a lo beter. B's response: a. as it I don't see mc evidence ofat. b. It as I don' see mc evdence of tat. c. It as. # don' see mc evdence of a. Tis skeptcal reading of rsng declaraves s well known d s oen assmed o be connected to their econg" fncton. Bt it wold be a msake o asse
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