April 13th: Donka Farkas (UCSC) – Utrecht
Date: Wednesday, April 13th, 2016
Time: 15:30 – 17:00
Location: Utrecht, Trans 10, room 0.19 (A.W. de Grootkamer)
Speaker: Donka Farkas
Title: The interpretation of declaratives and interrogatives: How semantics and conventions of use divide labor (joint work with Floris Roelofsen)
This talk presents an account of the semantics and discourse effects of falling and rising declaratives, polar interrogatives, and tag interrogatives in English. One of its major goals is to divide the labor between compositional semantics and conventions of use in a principled way. It argues that falling declaratives and rising polar interrogatives are unmarked sentence types, and as such, the differences in their conventional discourse effects follow from independently motivated semantic differences, combined with a single, default convention of use. As a result, the Fregean ‘illocutionary force’ operators Assertion and Question become unnecessary. In contrast, rising declaratives and tag interrogatives are marked sentence types whose discourse effects consist of the default effects, which they share with unmarked sentence types, augmented with special effects that are systematically connected to their formal properties. A central feature of the approach is that it maintains a parallelism between unmarked and marked sentence types on the one hand, and default and non-default discourse effects on the other.