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Pragmatic conditions on non-polar responses

  • Author(s): McGarry, Lauren Elizabeth
  • Advisor(s): Farkas, Donka
  • et al.
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License

This paper discusses the discourse presuppositions of indeed and correct as response particles. Previous work on responses has focused on yes and no as polarity particles (e.g., Farkas & Bruce 2010, Farkas & Roelofsen 2016, Krifka 2013); however, the behavior of indeed cannot be explained in terms of absolute or relative polarity, because it is compatible with both positive and negative responses, as well as with agreement or disagreement. Rather, I argue that the distribution of indeed and correct is best explained in terms of relative epistemic authority (REA) (Heritage & Raymond 2005, Northrup 2014): Indeed presupposes that the speaker has equal or greater authority over the QUD compared to the addressee; correct presupposes that the speaker has greater authority. This is verified through felicity judgments in responses with varying REA configurations in both English and German, as well as their compatibility with rising intonation. Despite this deviation from the existing response particle literature, work on polar responses provides essential insights into propositional anaphora and the derivation of at-issue content for indeed and correct.

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