A hybrid categorial approach to question composition

Abstract

This paper revisits two fundamental issues in question semantics—what does a question mean, and how is this meaning compositionally derived? Drawing on observations with the distribution of wh-words in questions and free relatives as well as quantificational variability effects in question-embeddings, I argue that the nominal meanings of short answers must be derivable from question denotations, which therefore calls for a categorial approach to defining questions, including embedded questions. I provide a novel hybrid categorial approach to compose questions. This approach overcomes the problems with traditional categorial approaches in defining bare wh-indefinites, composing multi-wh questions, and accounting for coordinations of questions.

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Xiang, Y. A hybrid categorial approach to question composition. Linguist and Philos (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10988-020-09294-8

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Keywords

  • Questions
  • Categorial approaches
  • Short answers
  • Quantificational variability
  • Multi-wh questions
  • Question coordinations
  • Free relatives
  • wh-conditionals
  • Mention-some
  • wh-indefinites