Skip to main content

The *hope-wh puzzle

Abstract

Clause-embedding predicates come in three major varieties: (i) responsive predicates (e.g. know) are compatible with both declarative and interrogative complements; (ii) rogative predicates (e.g. wonder) are only compatible with interrogative complements; and (iii) anti-rogative predicates (e.g. hope) are only compatible with declarative complements. It has been suggested that these selectional properties are at least partly semantic in nature. In particular, it has been proposed that the anti-rogativity of neg-raising predicates like believe comes from the triviality in meaning that would arise with interrogative complements. This paper puts forward a similar semantic explanation for non-veridical preferential predicates such as hope, which are anti-rogative, unlike their veridical counterparts such as be happy, which are responsive.

References

  • Abels, Klaus. 2004. Why surprise-predicates do not embed polar interrogatives. Linguistische Arbeitsberichte 81: 203–222.

    Google Scholar 

  • Abrusán, Márta. 2019. Semantic anomaly, pragmatic infelicity, and ungrammaticality. Annual Review of Linguistics 5: 329–351.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anand, Pranav, and Valentine Hacquard. 2013. Epistemics and attitudes. Semantics and Pragmatics 6 (8): 1–59.

    Google Scholar 

  • Barwise, Jon, and Robin Cooper. 1981. Generalized quantifiers and natural language. Linguistics and Philosophy 4 (2): 159–219.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beaver, David I., and Brady Z. Clark. 2008. Sense and sensitivity: How focus determines meaning. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, Sigrid. 2006. Intervention effects follow from focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 14 (1): 1–56.

    Google Scholar 

  • Beck, Sigrid, and Hotze Rullmann. 1999. A flexible approach to exhaustivity in questions. Natural Language Semantics 7 (3): 249–298.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bolinger, Dwight. 1968. Post-posed main phrases: An English rule for the Romance subjunctive. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 14 (1): 3–30.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chierchia, Gennaro. 2013. Logic in grammar: Polarity, free choice, and intervention. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Chomsky, Noam. 1965. Aspects of the theory of syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ciardelli, Ivano, Jeroen Groenendijk, and Floris Roelofsen. 2013. Inquisitive semantics: A new notion of meaning. Language and Linguistics Compass 7 (9): 459–476.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ciardelli, Ivano, and Floris Roelofsen. 2015. Inquisitive dynamic epistemic logic. Synthese 192 (6): 1643–1687.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cremers, Alexandre. 2016. On the semantics of embedded questions. PhD thesis, École Normale Supérieure, Paris.

  • Cremers, Alexandre, and Emmanuel Chemla. 2016. A psycholinguistic study of the exhaustive readings of embedded questions. Journal of Semantics 33 (1): 49–85.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cremers, Alexandre, and Emmanuel Chemla. 2017. Experiments on the acceptability and possible readings of questions embedded under emotive-factives. Natural Language Semantics 25: 223–261.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dalrymple, Mary, Makoto Kanazawa, Yookyung Kim, Sam Mchombo, and Stanley Peters. 1998. Reciprocal expressions and the concept of reciprocity. Linguistics and Philosophy 21 (2): 159–210.

    Google Scholar 

  • d’Avis, Franz-Josef. 2002. On the interpretation of wh-clauses in exclamative environments. Theoretical Linguistics 28 (1): 5–31.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dayal, Veneeta. 1996. Locality in WH quantification: Questions and relative clauses in Hindi. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Egré, Paul. 2008. Question-embedding and factivity. Grazer Philosophische Studien 77 (1): 85–125.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gajewski, Jon. 2002. L-analyticity and natural language. Ms., MIT.

  • George, B.R. 2011. Question embedding and the semantics of answers. PhD thesis, University of California Los Angeles.

  • George, B.R. 2013. Which judgments show weak exhaustivity? (And which don’t?). Natural Language Semantics 21 (4): 401–427.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grimshaw, Jane. 1979. Complement selection and the lexicon. Linguistic Inquiry 10 (2): 279–326.

    Google Scholar 

  • Grimshaw, Jane. 1990. Argument structure. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Groenendijk, Jeroen and Floris Roelofsen. 2009. Inquisitive semantics and pragmatics. In Meaning, content, and argument: Proceedings of the ILCLI international workshop on semantics, pragmatics, and rhetoric, ed. J. M. Larrazabal and L. Zubeldia. www.illc.uva.nl/inquisitivesemantics.

  • Groenendijk, Jeroen and Martin Stokhof. 1984. Studies on the semantics of questions and the pragmatics of answers. PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam.

  • Grohne, Gisela. 2017. Aspect and embedded questions. Talk presented at the workshop ‘Inquisitiveness below and beyond the sentence boundary 1’, Broek in Waterland.

  • Guerzoni, Elena. 2007. Weak exhaustivity and ‘whether’: A pragmatic approach. In Proceedings from SALT 17, ed. T. Friedman and M. Gibson, 112–129. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hacquard, Valentine. 2006. Aspects of modality. PhD thesis, MIT.

  • Hamblin, Charles Leonard. 1973. Questions in Montague grammar. Foundations of Language 10: 41–53.

    Google Scholar 

  • Harner, Hillary Jane. 2016. Focus and the semantics of desire predicates and directive verbs. PhD thesis, Georgetown University.

  • Heim, Irene. 1992. Presupposition projection and the semantics of attitude verbs. Journal of Semantics 9 (3): 183–221.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heim, I. 1994. Interrogative semantics and Karttunen’s semantics for know. In Proceedings of IATL 1, ed. R. Buchalla and A. Mittwoch, 128–144. Jerusalem: IATL.

  • Huddleston, Rodney, and Geoffrey K. Pullum. 2002. The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Karttunen, Lauri. 1977. Syntax and semantics of questions. Linguistics and Philosophy 1: 3–44.

    Google Scholar 

  • Klinedinst, Nathan, and Daniel Rothschild. 2011. Exhaustivity in questions with non-factives. Semantics and Pragmatics 4 (2): 1–23.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kratzer, Angelika. 2006. Decomposing attitude verbs. Handout from a talk honoring Anita Mittwoch on her 80th birthday at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, July 4, 2006.

  • Kratzer, Angelika, and Junko Shimoyama. 2002. Indeterminate pronouns: The view from Japanese. In Proceedings of the 3rd Tokyo conference on psycholinguistics, ed. Y. Otsu, 1–25. Tokyo: Hituzi Syobo.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lahiri, Utpal. 2002. Questions and answers in embedded contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lassiter, Daniel, and Noah Goodman. 2017. Adjectival vagueness in a Bayesian model of interpretation. Synthese 194: 3801–3836.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mayr, Clemens. 2019. Triviality and interrogative embedding: Context sensitivity, factivity, and neg-raising. Natural Language Semantics 27 (3): 227–278.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moulton, Keir. 2014. Simple event nominalizations: Roots and their interpretation. In Cross-linguistic investigations of nominalization patterns, ed. I. Paul, 119–144. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nicolae, Andreea Cristina. 2013. Any questions? Polarity as a window into the structure of questions. PhD thesis, Harvard.

  • Pesetsky, David. 1982. Paths and categories. PhD thesis, MIT.

  • Pesetsky, David. 1991. Zero syntax, vol. 2: Infinitives. Ms., MIT.

  • Portner, Paul, and Aynat Rubinstein. 2012. Mood and contextual commitment. In Proceedings of SALT 22, ed. A. Chereches, 461–487. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Qing, Ciyang, and Michael Franke. 2014. Gradable adjectives, vagueness, and optimal language use: A speaker-oriented model. In Proceedings of SALT 24, ed. T. Snider, S. D’Antonio, and M. Weigand, 23–41. Washington, DC: LSA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rawlins, Kyle. 2013. About ‘about’. In Proceedings of SALT 23, ed. T. Snider, 336–357. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.

    Google Scholar 

  • Roelofsen, Floris. (2019). Surprise for Lauri Karttunen. In Lauri Karttunen Festschrift, ed. C. Condoravdi. Stanford, CA: CSLI. https://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/distributed/T/bo45997447.html.

  • Roelofsen, Floris, Michele Herbstritt, and Maria Aloni. 2019. The *whether puzzle. In Questions in discourse, ed. K. von Heusinger, E. Onea, and M. Zimmermann, 172–197. Leiden: Brill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Romero, Maribel. 1998. Focus and reconstruction effects in wh-phrases. PhD thesis, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

  • Romero, Maribel. 2015. Surprise-predicates, strong exhaustivity and alternative questions. In Proceedings of SALT 25, ed. S. D’Antonio, M. Moroney, and C. Little, 225–245. Washington, DC: LSA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Romero, Maribel. 2016. Strong exhaustivity, alternative questions and monotonicity: Some thoughts on Cremers and Chemla (2016). Handout presented at the XPrag workshop ‘Disjunction Days: Theoretical and experimental perspectives on the semantics and pragmatics of disjunction’. ZAS Berlin, June 2016.

  • Rooth, Matts. 1992. A theory of focus interpretation. Natural Language Semantics 1 (1): 75–116.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ross, John Robert. 1967. Constraints on variables in syntax. PhD thesis, MIT.

  • Rubinstein, Aynat. 2012. Roots of modality. PhD thesis, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

  • Sæbø Kjell Johan. 2007. A whether forecast. In Logic, language, and computation, ed. B. ten Cate and H. Zeevat, 189–199. Berlin: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Schwabe, Kerstin, and Robert Fittler. 2009. Semantic characterizations of German question-embedding predicates. In TbiLLC 2007: Logic, language, and computation, ed. P. Bosch, D. Gabelaia, and J. Lang, 229–241. Berlin: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sharvit, Yael. 2002. Embedded questions and ‘de dicto’ readings. Natural Language Semantics 10 (2): 97–123.

    Google Scholar 

  • Spector, Benjamin. 2007. Modalized questions and exhaustivity. In Proceedings of SALT 17, 282–299. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publications.

  • Spector, Benjamin, and Paul Egré. 2015. A uniform semantics for embedded interrogatives: An answer, not necessarily the answer. Synthese 192 (6): 1729–1784.

    Google Scholar 

  • Theiler, Nadine. 2014. A multitude of answers: Embedded questions in typed inquisitive semantics. MSc thesis, University of Amsterdam.

  • Theiler, Nadine, Floris Roelofsen, and Maria Aloni. 2018. A uniform semantics for declarative and interrogative complements. Journal of Semantics 35 (3): 409–466.

    Google Scholar 

  • Theiler, Nadine, Floris Roelofsen, and Maria Aloni. 2019. Picky predicates: Why believe doesn’t like interrogative complements, and other puzzles. Natural Language Semantics 27 (2): 95–134.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tonhauser, Judith, David Beaver, Craige Roberts, and Mandy Simons. 2013. Toward a taxonomy of projective content. Language 89 (1): 66–109.

    Google Scholar 

  • Uegaki, Wataru. 2015. Interpreting questions under attitudes. PhD thesis, MIT.

  • van Benthem, Johan. 1989. Logical constants across types. Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic 30 (3): 315–342.

    Google Scholar 

  • Villalta, Elisabeth. 2008. Mood and gradability: An investigation of the subjunctive mood in Spanish. Linguistics and Philosophy 31 (4): 467–522.

    Google Scholar 

  • White, Aaron Steven, and Kyle Rawlins. 2016. A computational model of S-selection. In Proceedings of SALT 26, ed. M. Moroney, C.-R. Little, J. Collard, and D. Burgdorf, 641–663. Washington, DC: LSA.

    Google Scholar 

  • Wold, Dag E. 1996. Long distance selective binding: The case of focus. In Proceedings of SALT 6, ed. T. Galloway, and J. Spence, 311–328. Ithaca, NY: CLC Publication.

  • Xiang, Yimei. 2016. Complete and true: A uniform analysis for mention-some and mention-all questions. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 20, ed. N. Bade, P. Berezovskaya, and A. Schöller, 815–832. Tübingen: University of Tübingen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Zuber, Richard. 1982. Semantic restrictions on certain complementizers. In Proceedings of the 13th International Congress of Linguists, ed. S. Hattori and K. Inoue, 434–436. Tokyo: Proceedings Publication Committee.

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Wataru Uegaki.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

We would like to thank Sam Alxatib, Dominique Blok, Alexandre Cremers, Kajsa Djärv, Patrick D. Elliot, Donka Farkas, Jon Gajewski, Jane Grimshaw, Dan Lassiter, Louise McNally, Rick Nouwen, Floris Roelofsen, Maribel Romero, Jacopo Romoli, Bernhard Schwarz, Henriette de Swart, Aaron Steven White, as well as two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and discussion. Earlier versions of this paper have been presented at the Selection Fest (Berlin 2017) and the Amsterdam Colloquium 2017. Finally, we gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO; Grant Number: IG.18.023).

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Uegaki, W., Sudo, Y. The *hope-wh puzzle. Nat Lang Semantics 27, 323–356 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-019-09156-5

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11050-019-09156-5

Keywords

  • Selectional restrictions
  • Attitude predicates
  • Clausal complementation
  • Question embedding
  • Preferential predicates