Fekete, István and Schulz, Petra and Ruigendijk, Esther (2018) Exhaustivity in single bare <i>wh</i>-questions: a differential-analysis of exhaustivity. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 3 (1). p. 96. ISSN 2397-1835

- Published Version

Volltext (8Mb)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.549


Despite a large body of research, the linguistic nature of exhaustivity in single wh-questions is unresolved. Moreover, little empirical evidence exists as to which related structures pattern with bare wh-questions regarding exhaustivity. This paper explores the felicity of various exhaustivity violations in unembedded single bare wh-questions in German and compares them to related structures. In two novel felicity judgment experiments, a total of 441 participants rated exhaustive as well as non-exhaustive plural and non-exhaustive singleton answers to wh-questions or statements in a questionnaire. Answers were based on picture stimuli depicting individuals performing various actions. The felicity of non-exhaustive answers was compared across four main test conditions: bare wh-questions (wer ‘who’), wh-questions with a lexical exhaustivity marker (wer alles ‘who all’), plural definite descriptions contained in a restrictive relative clause (e.g., “the people who are fishing in the garden”), and the scalar quantifier “some” (e.g., “some people who are fishing in the garden”). We employ a novel methodological approach to improve the interpretability of statistical differences between experimental conditions by using the statistical measure of Minimal Important Difference (MID). Our results from estimated MIDs reveal that adults’ felicity judgments of non-exhaustive plural answers to bare wh-questions pattern with those to wer alles-questions and to plural definite descriptions: exhaustivity violations in the bare wh, the wer alles and the plural definite conditions were rated as less felicitous than exhaustivity violations in the some-condition.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Publiziert mit Hilfe des DFG-geförderten Open Access-Publikationsfonds der Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg.
Uncontrolled Keywords: exhaustivity; semantics; wh-question; German; felicity judgment; Minimal Important Difference (MID)
Subjects: Language > German
Divisions: School of Linguistics and Cultural Studies > Dutch Philology
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2019 10:32
Last Modified: 18 Sep 2019 09:46
URI: https://oops.uni-oldenburg.de/id/eprint/4190
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:715-oops-42715
DOI: doi:10.5334/gjgl.549

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...