Logic and Language

Anna Alsop & Lucas Champollion (NYU): A compositional account of Japanese ka in Inquisitive Semantics

Speaker: Anna Alsop & Lucas Champollion (NYU)
Title: A compositional account of Japanese ka in Inquisitive Semantics
Time: 16:00 - 17:30
Location: Online

To join the Zoom meeting, please click https://uva-live.zoom.us/j/83236591238.


A compositional account of Japanese ka in Inquisitive Semantics

The multifunctional Japanese particle ka occurs in questions, indefinites, and disjunctions. This calls for a compositional treatment in inquisitive semantics, where these three items form a natural class (Ciardelli, Groenendijk & Roelofsen 2018). We argue that ka in all its guises can be understood in terms of inquisitive join (union) with optional variable binding, and present our account in a compositional Inquisitive Semantics. We follow the diachronic trajectory of ka closely in our formalization, taking its function in polar and alternative questions to be basic (Kinuhata & Iwata 2010). We derive ka's more recent role in disjunctions, wh-questions and indefinites via a set of type shifters that we assume became available over time. The proposed theory offers a comprehensive, compositional account of ka's multifunctionality, and also handles novel examples of long-distance wh-scope taking across multiple islands (own fieldwork, see also Hirotani 2003) that are unexpected on previous accounts of ka in alternative semantics (e.g. Shimoyama 2001; 2006, Kratzer and Shimoyama 2002, Uegaki 2018).

(Based on joint work with Ivano Ciardelli and Floris Roelofsen.)