Unconditional concealed questions and Heim's ambiguity

Ilaria Frana, Kyle Rawlins


In this paper, we investigate Concealed Questions (CQs) in the context of headed unconditionals. We observe that although CQs are licensed in unconditionals, the distribution of readings involved in Heim’s Ambiguity (Heim 1979) does not match that found in attitude contexts. Furthermore, the distribution of readings varies by verb class (epistemic vs. communication verbs). We propose that unconditional concealed questions involve questions derived from the denotation of the DP via a specially devised type-shifter, and show how this can block the unwanted readings in exactly the right cases. Heim’s ambiguity, we suggest, is not a unitary phenomenon, and a hybrid concept/question-based account is necessary to derive the right readings in the right contexts.


attitudes, concealed questions, Heim's ambiguity, unconditionals, verba dicendi

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/salt.v21i0.2623