Inquisitive semantics and pragmatics

Place: University of Amsterdam, PCH 115
Time: Fall 2011, Wednesdays 6pm -- 9pm
Lecturers: Jeroen Groenendijk and Floris Roelofsen


Overview

The course provides an in-depth introduction in inquisitive semantics, logic, and pragmatics, and engages students in current research questions. 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. Crucially, a speaker may propose several alternative ways of 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 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, write a small research report, and present their findings to the other students.

Schedule (provisional)


 Date
 Topic               Reading   Optional reading 

Week 1
7/9
 
General course introduction (slides)
 Basic intro to inquisitive semantics (slides)
 
Groenendijk-Roelofsen-10-notes
Aloni-Butler-Dekker-07


Groenendijk-99
Mascarenhas-09-first-part
Groenendijk-Stokhof-99

 
Week 2
14/9


 Inquisitive semantics
(restricted, support-based)

Groenendijk-Roelofsen-09 (sec.1-3)

Groenendijk-09

 Week 3
21/9


Inquisitive algebra and logic

Roelofsen-11
Ciardelli-Roelofsen-09-tark

Ciardelli-Roelofsen-10-jpl
Week 4
28/9

First order inquisitive semantics:
the maximality problem and witnesses


Ciardelli-09
Groenendijk-Roelofsen-11




 Week 5
5/10
 
Witness semantics
An algebraic perspective



Roelofsen-11-lori

 Week 6
12/10

Witness semantics

Groenendijk-Roelofsen-11-prague


 Week 7
19/10

The logic of interrogation from the
perspective of inquisitive semantics 


Groenendijk-11

Groenendijk-99


  Break (midterm paper due Nov 1)

   
 Week 8
2/11

Attentive content (slides)

Ciardelli-Groenendijk-Roelofsen-10

Zimmermann-00
 Week 11
9/11

Three ways of thinking about possibilities 




 Week 10
16/11

Disjunctive questions, prosody and syntax

Pruitt-Roelofsen-11

Roelofsen and van Gool-09
 
 Week 9
23/11

Disjunctive questions, semantics

Erotetic languages


Pruitt-Roelofsen-11

Groenendijk-11-hierarchy
 

 Week 12
30/11

Erotetic languages and the inquisitive hierarchy

Inquisitive dynamic epistemic logic


Groenendijk-11-hierarchy

Roelofsen-11-idel


 Week 13
7/12

Polarity particles


Farkas-Roelofsen-11

Farkas-Bruce-10
 Week 14
14/12
 
Project presentations

 
David van Tijn
Holger Brunn
Matt Teichman
Pawel Lojko

 

Potential additional topics

  • 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
  • Further reading on attentive might: Willer-11, Yalcin-11

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 7 or Dec 14
    Weight: 20%
  • Final paper
    Length: 10-20 pages
    Due: Dec 20
    Weight: 50%