Questioning Speech Acts
Jess Law, Haoze Li, Diti Bhadra
February 2018

We investigate the sentence-final particle ho from Cantonese, which can stack on top of other sentence-final particles indicating various types of speech acts. We argue that ho is a higher level question operator that operates at the level of speech acts. More concretely, it takes a speech act (assertion or question) and returns a new interrogative speech act asking whether the input speech act can be felicitously performed by the addressee. We take the presence of this kind of higher level question operator in natural language as novel evidence that a mechanism for operating on speech acts is needed. Building on Farkas and Bruce (2009), Rawlins (2010), Bledin and Rawlins (2017), we develop a mechanism in the style of Update Semantics for operating on speech acts.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003895
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Proceedings of Sinn und Bedeutung 22
keywords: speech acts, sentence-final particles, cantonese, update semantics, semantics
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