Concealed Questions

  • Irene Heim
Part of the Springer Series in Language and Communication book series (SSLAN, volume 6)


The use of noun phrases as so-called concealed questions may be a rather marginal phenomenon in natural languages, but it touches quite fundamentally on considerations about the notion of noun phrase scope and its proper role in a formal semantic description of natural language. My main point in this paper is that a theory that handles ordinary noun phrases fails to carry over to concealed questions in a simple straightforward manner. To illustrate this, I will list some inadequacies of an unsophisticated extension of MONTAGUE’S PTQ fragment [8]. I will then offer a choice of two different remedies, neither of which seems to be the ultimate solution, however. Throughout my argumentation, I will completely ignore the fact that there are paraphrase relations between concealed and overt questions which may suggest interpreting the former via the latter. This doesn’t mean that I have any evidence which would rule out that sort of approach, but I do have some practical justification for my neglect. Unless otherwise indicated, I presuppose everything in PTQ, but that is just a matter of convenient presentation.


Noun Phrase Relative Clause Phone Number Variable Assignment Individual Concept 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Heim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversität of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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