Reference to dependencies established in multiple-wh questions

Haoze Li


In discourse, a universal statement establishes a dependency between sets of objects, which can support the evaluation of singular pronouns in a subsequent sentence. Two well-known phenomena involving such reference to a dependency are quantificational subordination and telescoping. This paper argues that a multiple-wh question admitting a pair-list answer can support subordination and telescoping, just like universal statements. Accordingly, the relevant phenomena are classified into two kinds of reference to dependencies, called ‘question subordination’ and ‘question telescoping’, which exhibit different properties. A dynamic family-of-questions analysis is developed to account for these phenomena. Briefly, a multiple- wh question generates a set of sub-questions, i.e., a family of questions, and then the set is transformed into a set of possible pair-list answers. Following Dynamic Plural Logic, the family of questions and possible pair-list answers encode different kinds of dependencies. Accessing the dependency encoded in a possible pair-list answer gives rise to question subordination, whereas accessing the dependency encoded in the family of questions gives rise to question telescoping. 

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