Dynamic inquisitive semantics: Summer 2021
– • Utrecht (virtual) • European Summer School for Logic, Language, and Information (ESSLLI)
This course brings together two important strands in the formal analysis of natural language meaning: dynamic semantics and inquisitive semantics. It develops an integrated logical framework, dynamic inquisitive semantics, and demonstrates how this framework can be used to analyze various dynamic aspects of the meaning of questions in discourse.
Specific topics include anaphora within and across questions, intervention effects in questions analyzed as failed dynamic binding, multiple wh-questions, the semantics of Q particles as dynamic identification operators, dynamic quantification and the derivation of pair-list readings in questions with quantifiers, and connections between weak/strong donkey anaphora and exhaustive/non-exhaustive question readings. We will see that the analysis of these phenomena in the proposed framework goes beyond the current state of the art.
It is assumed that students are familiar with dynamic semantics, though not necessarily with dynamic approaches to questions. It is helpful to be familiar with compositional dynamic systems, in particular, Muskens (1996), but we will go through the most important concepts in this area. Similarly, familiarity with static inquisitive semantics is helpful, even though here as well, we will try to cover the most important concepts during the course.
Useful material and background reading
Introduction to inquisitive semantics
- Ivano Ciardelli, Jeroen Groenendijk, and Floris Roelofsen. Inquisitive semantics. Oxford University Press, 2019. Available here.
Compositional dynamic semantics
- Brasoveanu, A. (2008). Donkey pluralities: plural information states versus non-atomic individuals. Linguistics and Philosophy, 31(2), 129–209.
- Muskens, R. (1996). Combining Montague semantics and discourse representation. Linguistics and Philosophy, 19(2), 143–186.
Dynamic semantics of questions, non-inquisitive
- Groenendijk, J. (1998). Questions in update semantics. In J. Hulstijn and A. Nijholt, editors, Formal semantics and pragmatics of dialogue (Twendial ’98), pages 125–137.
- Haida, A. (2007). The Indefiniteness and focusing of wh-words. Ph.D. thesis, Humboldt University, Berlin.
- van Rooij, R. (1998). Modal subordination in questions. In Proceedings of Twendial, pages 237–248.
Dynamic inquisitive semantics
- Dotlačil, J. and Roelofsen, F. (2019). Dynamic inquisitive semantics: Anaphora and questions. In Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 23, pages 365–382.
- Dotlačil, J. and Roelofsen, F. (2021). A dynamic semantics of single wh and multiple wh questions. Proceedings of Semantics and Linguistic Theory 30, pages 376–395.
|1||Motivation and background||
|2||A first-order system||
|3||Compositionality and plurality||
|4||Multiple wh-questions, weak and strong readings||