Prosody is adding what?: Echo questions are not a thing

Maria Biezma, Bettina Braun, Angela James


While echo questions (EcQs) are often said to be identified by their prosodic properties, there is no empirical study actually supporting such claim. Focusing on wh-utterances we provide results from a production study, a classifier, and a perception study to argue that prosody is not a reliable cue to identify an inquisitive utterance as EcQ. We also offer a model that unifies the semantics of utterances inquiring about what has just been said (EcQs) and utterances inquiring about ‘non-discursive’ facts, information seeking questions (InfQs), while keeping the interpretation of the utterance true to form.

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