MoL-2018-19: Inquisitive Logical Triviality and Grammar

MoL-2018-19: Möller Kalpak, Hana (2018) Inquisitive Logical Triviality and Grammar. [Report]

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In this thesis, I define the notion of inquisitive logical triviality, and investigate its connection to grammaticality in natural language. Inquisitive logical triviality is a property characterizing sentences which are either contradictory, or tautologous and non-inquisitive, purely in virtue of their logical vocabulary, and the presuppositions that this vocabulary triggers. I propose that inquisitive logical triviality is a source of systematic unacceptability of sentences, to the effect that sentences exhibiting this form of triviality are ungrammatical. I argue that this assumption allows us to explain various empirical puzzles involving indefinite and interrogative pronouns. First, it is shown to allow an account of previously unnoticed patterns of (un)grammaticality of constructions in which the exclusive particle only or an it-cleft associates with an indefinite pronoun or determiner phrase. Second, it is shown to allow a semantic account of the system of question formation in Yucatec Maya, a language with little-to-no interrogative-specific morphosyntax. Third, it is shown to allow an account for the cross-linguistic ability of focus to disambiguate quexistentials; words that can function both as indefinite and as interrogative pronouns.

Item Type: Report
Report Nr: MoL-2018-19
Series Name: Master of Logic Thesis (MoL) Series
Year: 2018
Subjects: Language
Depositing User: Dr Marco Vervoort
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2018 16:07
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2018 16:07

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