Semantics and Pragmatics: the Inquisitive Turn

Place: University of Amsterdam, OMHP A.118D
Time: Fall 2010, Wednesdays 6pm -- 9pm
Lecturers: Jeroen Groenendijk and Floris Roelofsen

There is a separate page for course announcements.

Overview

The course relates to a recently started NWO-research project on inquisitive semantics, logic, and pragmatics. Inquisitive semantics offers a new logical-semantical model for the interpretation of natural language. The proposition expressed by a sentence is viewed as a proposal to update the common ground of a conversation, where it is a characteristic of inquisitive semantics that a speaker may draw attention to several alternative possibilities for updating the common ground, from which the hearer is invited to choose. The new semantic framework gives rise to new directions for the study of pragmatics, and also leads to new logical research questions.

In the first part of the course we discuss the logical and philosophical foundations of inquisitive semantics and pragmatics, and will illustrate its applications in several empirical linguistic domains. The last part of the course is intended to have the nature of a research colloquium. Students will choose a small research project on logical, philosophical or linguistic aspects of inquisitive semantics and pragmatics, write a small research report, and present their findings to the other students.

Schedule (provisional)

 Date
 Topic               Reading   Optional reading 
Week 1
8/9
 
General course intro:
from truth-conditions to
propositions as proposals
(slides)


 Basic intro to inquisitive semantics (slides)
 
GR-10-notes
ABD-07






Groe-99
Masc-09-first-part
GS-99


 Week 2
15/9

 Inquisitive semantics
(restricted, support-based)

GR-09

Groe-09
 Week 3

22/9

Inquisitive logic

 CR-10-jpl

CR-09-tark
Week 4
29/9

Inquisitive logic



Philosophical foundations of
inquisitive pragmatics

  CR-10-jpl



Gamut-91
GR-09


Ciardelli-09a






 Week 5
6/10
 
Formalization of
inquisitive pragmatics



Computing compliance (website)











CCGR-09-lori
 Week 6
13/10

Inquisitive implicatures in alternative questions



Beyond compliance



GR-09



Dustin-09
GR-09reply


 Week 7
20/10

First order semantics (slides)



Focus, congruence, 
and exhaustification (slides)


Ciardelli-09b




chapter 6


Balogh-09
chapters 2-4


  Break (midterm paper due Nov 1)

   
 Week 8
3/11
 
Attentive content


CGR-10

 Week 11
10/11
 
Attentive pragmatics



Disjunctive questions, intonation, and highlighting



CGR-10



RvG-10




 Week 10
17/11

Radical inquisitive semantics 


GR-10



 
 Week 9
24/11
 
Radical inquisitive semantics



 

 Week 12
1/12

An algebraic perspective
on inquisitive semantics



Quality implications


GR-10b





 Week 13
8/12

Project presentations:
1. Floor
2. Kelly
3. Morgan



 Week 14
17/12
 
Project presentations:
1. Bruno
2. Jelle
3. Kasper and Maya

   

Potential additional topics

  • First-order inquisitive logic: Ciardelli-09, Sano-10 (in progress).
  • Questions in Yukatek Maya: Anderbois-10
  • Sluicing: Anderbois-10salt
  • Alternative questions: Roelofsen and van Gool-09, Pruitt and Roelofsen-10 (in progress).
  • Unconditionals: Rawlins, Kaufmann.
  • Hypothetical information exchange: supposition, modal subordination, conditional questions, counterfactuals.
  • Inquisitiveness cross-linguistically: Haspelmath-01, Bhatt-00
  • Questions and indefinites in dynamic semantics: Haida.
  • Intervention effects: Beck, Kim, Pesetsky, Haida, Cable.
  • Question-based models of discourse: Ginzburg, Roberts, Büring.
  • Acquisition of disjunctive questions in Japanese and Mandarin: Akagi.
  • Exhausitivity marking in Hungarian: Balogh-09, ch.4,5 

Assignments and grading

  • Mid-term paper
    Length: 5-10 pages
    Due: Nov 1
    Weight: 30%
  • Presentation
    Length: depending on total number of presentations
    Topic: either your own paper-in-progress, or related work
    Date: Dec 8 or Dec 15
    Weight: 20%
  • Final paper
    Length: 10-20 pages
    Due: Dec 20
    Weight: 50%