An Epistemic Bridge for Presupposition Projection in Questions

Nadine Theiler

Abstract


It is often assumed that presuppositions in wh-questions project universally. However, Schwarz & Simonenko (2018) note examples of such questions where universal projection is absent. I discuss their account and propose an alternative: by reasoning about the pragmatics of question-answer discourse, I arrive at a version of Stalnaker's bridge principle that is sensitive to what the speaker already knows about the true answer to the question. This Epistemic Bridge predicts universal projection for canonical information-seeking questions, but less than universal projection for certain non-canonical question uses such as quiz questions.


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/salt.v30i0.4817

Copyright (c) 2021 Nadine Theiler