Interpreting Questions under Attitudes

Wataru Uegaki, 2015

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This dissertation concerns three kinds of variability that pose challenges for the compositional semantics of question-embedding sentences: (i) lexical variation among clause-embedding predicates with respect to the selection of complement types, (ii) variability in the exhaustivity of embedded questions and (iii) variability in the veridicality of embedded questions. Based on the proposal that declarative complements of question-embedding predicates are limiting cases of embedded questions, this dissertation presents a compositional-semantic analysis of questionembedding sentences that can correctly predict the three kinds of variability above. According to the proposal, the complement selection is determined solely by the semantic type of the embedding predicate. The variability in exhaustivity and veridicality of embedded questions follows from a unified semantic derivation, namely one involving exhaustification at the matrix level once the lexical semantics of the embedding predicate is taken into account.