Trivial questions
Bernhard Schwarz, Alexandra Simonenko
October 2018

It is often proposed that the unacceptability of a semantically interpretable sentence can be rooted in its meaning. Elaborating on Oshima (2007), we argue that the meaning-driven unacceptability of factive islands must make reference to felicity conditions, and cannot be reduced to the triviality of propositional content. We also observe, again elaborating on Oshima (2007), that the triviality of factive islands need not be logical, but can be relative to a listener's background assumptions. These findings call for a revision of a prevalent view about meaning-driven unacceptability (Gajewski 2002, Fox and Hackl 2006, Chierchia 2013, Abrusan 2014, Del Pinal 2017), according to which unacceptability results from triviality that is both propositional and logical.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003350
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in Natural Language Semantics (as "Factive islands and meaning-driven unacceptability")
keywords: factive islands, questions, uninterpretability, triviality and grammar, felicity conditions, presuppositions
previous versions: v3 [August 2018]
v2 [February 2018]
v1 [March 2017]
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