4: Optimal Inquisitive Discourse

In: Questions in Dynamic Semantics
Paul Dekker
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This chapter offers an intuitively motivated and formally generalized notion of an optimal inquisitive discourse. It gives an introduction to implementation of the standard formal view on the semantics of questions and answers. It is based upon the basic insights of Hamblin and Karttunen which are intuitively motivated and formally worked out well by Groenendijk and Stokhof and Krifka. The chapter discusses the logical and pragmatic merits of this type of framework and presents how questions and answers in discourse update the common ground in discourse. This will serve to set the ground for giving us a formal paradigm to actually define a notion of an optimal inquiry. The chapter concludes that utterances in dialogues should be apprehended from a global perspective, which takes into account the information and possible intentions of the dialogue participants, rather than from a local perspective.