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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.

In: Questions in Dynamic Semantics
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Abstract

This chapter describes a compositional analysis of a locution like "else". It may be clear that an adequate interpretation of "else" cannot stand on its own. The term is used in an anaphoric way, it is used in a constituent answer, and it relates to a previously raised issue. In this way "else" participates in quite a number of issues all having to do with information structure. The chapter starts from a classical, Tarskian, satisfaction semantics for a language of first order predicate logic. The system of Predicate Logic with Anaphora (PLA) formally develops the idea that indefinite noun phrases can be used with referential intentions and that anaphoric pronouns can be coreferential with these indefinites. The chapter finally formulates a single, polyadic, interpretation of "else" which has been shown to behave as required in constructions like "Somebody else", "Nobody else", and "Nobody somebody else".

In: Questions in Dynamic Semantics
In: Presuppositions and Discourse: Essays Offered to Hans Kamp
In: Semantic and Pragmatic Issues in Discourse and Dialogue
In: Approaches to Meaning
In: Freedom of Association in China and Europe
In: Context-Dependence in the Analysis of Linguistic Meaning
In: Context-Dependence in the Analysis of Linguistic Meaning
In: Questions in Dynamic Semantics