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Rising Above Commitment

Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

This thesis develops a compositional account of the contribution of steeply, monotonically rising and steeply, monotonically falling intonational tunes to the utterances they accompany. I pursue an account couched within a restrictive implementation of the Table model in which falling intonation signals that the speaker is making a commitment by virtue of their utterance, and rising intonation signals that the speaker is making no commitments by virtue of their utterance. I propose a bifurcation of the Table model into a doxastic portion of the context and a teleological portion of the context, and propose that imperatives interact with the teleological portion of the context, whereas declaratives and interrogatives interact with the doxastic portion of the context.

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