Deriving short answers from Hamblin sets: A case study of Mandarin wh-conditionals

Haoze Li


A short answer to a wh-question cannot be directly derived from the latter’s Hamblin–Karttunen denotation, which is a set of propositions. However, I argue that such a derivation is possible when the Hamblin-Karttunen denotation is dynamicized. In particular, wh-expressions have dynamic discourse contributions in the sense of introducing discourse referents (drefs), as evidenced by cross-sentential binding. Drefs introduced by wh-expressions not only provide a way to model short answers to wh-questions, but are also useful for modeling a non-canonical wh-construction known as wh-conditionals in Mandarin.

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