This week’s syntax-semantics reading group meeting will take place Wednesday, October 19th at 4pm in room 117. Jing will be present on “On freezing effect and information status of echo questions”.
Abstract: Echo questions (EQs) with an interrogative base have been regarded as syntactically more constrained than declarative-based EQs by involving a frozen CP structure (Sobin, 2010). In this presentation, I will argue against syntactic freezing based on possible syntactic deviation in EQs and claim that both declarative- and interrogative-based EQs are uniformly licensed by entailment defined over information content. The seemingly freezing effect of EQs is attributed to a lack of entailment when the activated sub-domain alternatives in Spec CP trigger exhaustification, generating implicatures contradicting the information states of antecedents. Thus instead of a frozen CP structure, the strength of interrogative antecedents needs to be maintained.