[Japanese | English]
Operations over question acts seem to be more restricted than operations over assertion acts. For example, a relevance conditional like (1a) can be modified by the free-relative pronoun, `whenever', as in (1b).
(1) a. If you are hungry, there's pizza in the fridge.
b. Whenever you get hungry, there's pizza in the fridge
In contrast, a relevance conditional question like (2a) cannot be modified by `whenever' as in (2b).
(2) a. If I have your attention now, what would you want for dinner?
b. ??Whenver I have your attention, what would you want for dinner?
The Japanese `dake-wa' (only-Topic) construction in which the exhaustive particle `dake' apparently exhaustifies over speech acts shows a similar pattern. That is, the `dake-wa'-construction is possible with assertions but not with questions.
I take these data to show that questions cannot be abstracted away from the current context, whereas information brought by declaratives in a hypothetical context can be interpreted.
Semantics Research Group
Last modified: 2008-02-01 15:55:11 JST