- Erotetic languages and the inquisitive hierarchy
- Book title
- This is not a Festschrift: [online Festschrift for Martin Stokhof]
- Number of pages
- [Amsterdam]: [S.n.]
- Document type
- Interfacultary Research Institutes
- Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC)
We start out postulating a notion of an erotetic language as a language that covers both informative and inquisitive semantic content. Next we postulate the concept of a classical erotetic language, where it is required that informative and inquisitive content are divided over two distinct syntactic categories: indicatives and interrogatives. From the general notion of an erotetic language we derive the fundamental logical-semantical concepts of inquisitive semantics, and sketch the contours of such a semantics for propositional erotetic languages. Then we first fill in the semantic details to arrive at a general inquisitive semantics for propositional erotetic languages. Next we restrict the syntax of the language in such a way that it becomes a classical erotetic language. The syntactic restrictions make this classical language semantically essentially poorer than the general one, though it is still richer than classical partition semantics, and can cope with conditional questions. The notion of the inquisitive hierarchy mentioned in the title of the paper plays a crucial role in explaining the difference. However, we go on to show that, while sticking to a classical erotetic language, the semantic restrictions can be lifted by generalizing interrogative formation from an operation on single sentences to one on sets of sentences. As a result, like non-classical general inquisitive semantics, classical inquisitive semantics can cope with alternative questions, and the general and the extended classical language turn out to be basically equivalent in expressiveness. They only differ in that in the classical case we sometimes need two sentences to express what in a general erotetic language can be expressed by a single sentence. For all systems under discussion, we show that they are conservative extensions of classical logic.
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