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Syntactic Freezing as Semantic Matching: Licensing Syntactic Deviation in Echo Questions

EasyChair Preprint no. 9398

7 pagesDate: December 1, 2022


Semantic analyses of EQs contend that declarative-based EQs are related to their antecedent by way of content since they can have no linguistic element in common with antecedents (Poschmann, 2018; Beck & Reis, 2018). Interrogative-based EQs, however, are subject to an additional condition, requiring antecedents with formally identical clause-type features (Beck & Reis, 2018). This additional syntactic constraint for interrogative-based EQs is nevertheless an unmotivated puzzle for semantic analyses. Sobin (2010) provides a quotative analysis explaining the syntactically more constrained interrogative-based EQs and less constrained declarative-based EQs as a COMP-freezing effect, which requires a frozen CP structure (Spec CP, C, C’) of the antecedent being copied. This paper argues against COMP-freezing by providing a unified semantic matching condition for licensing syntactic deviation allowed in EQs. We show that both declarative- and interrogative-based EQs are licensed by entailment defined over information content between the antecedent and the base utterance. The seemingly freezing effect of EQs arises despite entailment when relevant domain alternatives of the antecedent are factored into calculating the meaning of the base such that strict entailment is blocked by exhaustivity inference.

Keyphrases: echo questions, semantic matching, syntactic freezing

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Jing Ji},
  title = {Syntactic Freezing as Semantic Matching: Licensing Syntactic Deviation in Echo Questions},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 9398},

  year = {EasyChair, 2022}}
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