[2019] 7th session Satoshi Tomioka (Univ. of Delaware), Time: 2019-10-22, 05:00 PM

– Satoshi Tomioka (Univ. of Delaware)
– Purposeful Questions in Korean and Japanese and a Theory of Semantic Selection
– Time: 2019-10-22, 05:00 PM
– Place: #4 302
– Abstract: Recursion is one of the defining features of human language. Sentences, including interrogative sentences, can be parts of larger structures. Typically, an embedded interrogative sentence requires the presence of a predicate that semantically selects a question. In Japanese and Korean, however, we find cases where subordinate questions appear without such predicates.

(1) Mary-ka, [Paul-i iss-nun-ci], pyekcang mwun-ul yele-po-ass-ta.
‘Lit: Whether Paul was there, Mary tried opening the closet door. -> Mary tried opening the closet door to see if Paul was there.’

The embedded question in (1) is not (obviously) selected by the matrix predicate, but it bears a particular semantic relation with the matrix clause: The action depicted in the main clause was carried out in order to find out the answer to the embedded question. We will present ample evidence that suggests (i) embedded questions of this kind cannot be analyzed simply as questions that the agents in the events had in mind during the events, and (ii) there are not hidden syntactic structures that give the meaning of purpose/rationale clauses. We advocate an analysis that can be labeled as ‘post-lexical semantic selection’; a predicate meaning is enriched at the phrasal level so that an interrogative clause can be selected as an additional argument.