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Information StructureTheoretical, Typological, and Experimental Perspectives$
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Malte Zimmermann and Caroline Féry

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199570959

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199570959.001.0001

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Biased questions, intonation, and discourse *

Biased questions, intonation, and discourse *

(p.139) 7 Biased questions, intonation, and discourse*
Information Structure

Brian Reese

Nicholas Asher

Oxford University Press

In chapter 7 ‘Biased questions, intonation, and discourse’, Brian Reese and Nicholas Asher explore how the intonation contributes to what is said through an examination of a particular sentence type, focusing on interrogative constructions that give rise to biased questions.  The authors examine three kinds of interrogative construction, tag questions, negative polar questions and what they call ‘emphatic focus questions’.  After a critical review of past approaches, it is argued that prosody and information from the syntax/semantics interface combine in these constructions to produce complex speech acts consisting of both an assertion and a question.   It is also argued that the study of such interrogative forms sheds light on the complex interaction between prosodic and lexical and compositional semantic information.

Keywords:   bias, complex speech acts, intonation, polar questions, SDRT, Daniel Büring

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