8: Exhaustivity, Questions and Plurals in Update Semantics

In: Questions in Dynamic Semantics
Henk Zeevat
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This chapter presents an exhaustification operator in update semantics and discusses a series of applications of this operator. The exhaustification operator takes an open formula and assigns values to the free variables such that the formula is true as a result and entails all versions of the formula that can be obtained from the formula by assigning other values to the free variables for which the formula is true. Update semantics is a general name for any theory of language that explains the semantic properties of its expressions in terms of the information change that they bring about on information states. Exhaustive updates are updates with a formula whose discourse markers in the update are exhaustified with respect to the formula. A logical representation of questions needs to have a question operator and a way for marking Wh-elements. Scalar implicatures is area in which exhaustification does provide a direct explanation.