S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 36 Number 1/4 (2000)
A Constraint-Based Approach to Alternative Questions in English
- Yoo, Eun-Jung
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.36 No.1, pp. 19-42
- This paper deals with alternative questions m English, and proposes an analysis employing an alternative operator. I claim that the alternative question interpretation is not obtained by such syntactic processes as movement or gapping, but by scoping of an alternative operator that originates from the conjunction or. Accordingly, while the syntactic forms of alternative questions contain nothing more than a coordinate structure, their semantic component will be analyzed as including an alternative operator. Yes-no interrogatives in English may exhibit ambiguity between an alternative question reading and a polar question reading, and in the proposed analysis, this is accounted for by the optional nature of the alternative operator associated with a disjoined phrase. In representing questions, I provide a 'multiple inheritance' type hierarchy of clauses, in which the relationship between alternative questions and other types of questions is manifested. With respect to embedded alternative questions, this paper also examines the status of the introducing words whether and if, and argues that their distribution is restricted by matrix verbs.
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