Questions in Discourse: an Overview

In: Questions in Discourse


Recently, questions have become a very prominent topic at the semantics-pragmatics interface. A wide range of papers on the semantics and pragmatics of natural language as well as discourse structure have been published that – in some way or another – use or presuppose important assumptions about questions. With this background, this paper provides a comprehensive overview of the recent literature concerning the semantics and pragmatics of questions. In particular, the paper provides a short introduction to the formal semantic analysis of questions and it gives an overview and critical evaluation of the main topics of current research on questions at the semantics-pragmatics interface. The central purpose of this overview is to make it easier for readers to access current research on the semantics and pragmatics of question, information structure and discourse structure, projection and at-issueness as well as the semantics and pragmatics of discourse particles, and to situate these within the current state-of-the-art in question research. We expect this overview to be of particular use to scholars new to the field, but because of its wide coverage of empirical phenomena and analytical tools, the overview should provide useful for experts in the field as well.


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