Sudo 2010
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Sudo 2010. Contextual evidence (B&G). Importance of contextual evidence established by B&G (as we just saw) Contextual evidence for negative answer blocks the felicitousness of a PPQ PPQs fine in neutral contexts. More than one type of bias….

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Sudo 2010

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Sudo 2010

Sudo 2010

Contextual evidence b g

Contextual evidence (B&G)

  • Importance of contextual evidence established by B&G (as we just saw)

  • Contextual evidence for negative answer blocks the felicitousness of a PPQ

  • PPQs fine in neutral contexts

More than one type of bias

More than one type of bias…

(N.B. the term evidential is not to be confused with evidentials in the sense of source marking)

  • The above already described in B&G

  • Sudo points out an additional type of bias: epistemic

Epistemic bias

Epistemic bias

  • Outer negation questions have [-positive] evidential bias, incompatible with positive evidence

  • They are fine in neutral contexts

Epistemic bias1

Epistemic bias

  • Outer negation

  • Isn´t p?

  • Epistemic (speaker thinks p is likely)

  • Bouletic (speaker expects p)

  • Deontic (speaker thinks p should be the case)

  • Sudo groups all of these (E, B, D) into a general category of bias she proposes in addition to evidential bias: epistemic bias

Sudo 2010

Isn’t Bill tall?

p= Bill is tall

Epistemic (speaker thinks it is likely that Bill is tall)

Bouletic (speaker expects Bill to be tall)

Deontic (speaker thinks that it should be the case that Bill is tall)

Epistemic bias2

Epistemic bias

  • PPQs – no epistemic bias, ONPQs have positive epistemic bias

Found in question!

Found in context!

Sudo 2010

  • What about inner negation?

  • INPQs have stronger evidential bias than ONPQs

  • Negative evidence is necessary for INPQs to be felicitous, positive evidence incompatible

Sudo 2010

  • But if there’s no evidence, INPQs are infelicitous

Summary on

Summary ON

  • ON – infelicitous when there is contextual evidence for the positive answer

    A: This neigborhood is a hippie’s paradise!

    B: #Isn’t there a vegetarian restaurant around here? (ON)

  • ON is fine in a neutral context

    A: Where do you want to eat tonight?

    B: Isn’t there a vegetarian restaurant around here? (ON)

  • Therefore, the proposition is must be old to the speaker but new to the discourse (or unactivated in the discourse)

Summary in

Summary IN

  • INs require contextual evidence for the negative answer

    A: A hippie like Tom would never survive in this neighborhood. It’s for meatlovers.

    B: Isn’t there a vegetarian restaurant around here? (IN)

  • INs are infelicitous in neutral contexts

    A: We can eat anywhere you want!

    B: #Isn’t there a vegetarian restaurant around here? (IN)

Summary in1

Summary IN

  • Propositional content is new to the discourse, new to the speaker and old to the hearer

Summary pqs

Summary PQs

N.B. NOT an exhaustive list of possible combinations/parameters

There is a conflict between some prior belief and the evidence that has come about in the context



  • How are these ideas applicable to intonation?

  • Armstrong 2010: 3 contexts:

    Context 1 (NEUTRAL)

    Tu amigo: Quiero llevarte a comer esta noche. ¿Adónde quieres ir?

    Tú: ¿Por aquí hay algún restaurante vegetariano? Ya sabes que no como carne.

    ¡H* L%

Sudo 2010

Context 2: Como Uds. son vegetarianos, no podemos comer en este barrio. Todos los restaurantes aquí son más para los que comen carne.

Tú: ¿Por aquí no hay ningún restaurante vegetariano?

¡H* L%, L* HL%

Context 3: Estás visitando un amigo en NYC y te acuerdas que la última vez que lo visitaste comieron en un restaurante vegetariano

Tú: ¿Por aquí no hay un restaurante vegetariano?

¡H* L%, H+L* L%



Sudo 2010

  • Looking at contour types based on features for evidence and epistemicity reveals the nature of their pragmatic division of labor

  • Some contours (H+L* L%, L* HL%) are more restricted than others (¡H* L%) – these are the contours that are more strictly specified for either evidence or epistemicity

Sudo 2010

  • Because of the underspecified nature of ¡H* L%, it can be used in more contexts

  • ¡H* L% marks “questionhood” in all contexts but production results suggest that the nature of the question (biased or not) is context-induced)

  • (when there is +neg belief, ¡H* L% may be modified phonetically – scaling differences)

  • L* HL% and H+L* L%, are much more restricted and were only produced for specific contexts



  • How can this be tested experimentally?

  • (talk about issues with separating evidence and belief experimentally)

Sudo 2010

  • It may be helpful to consider temporal features as well

  • Perhaps through application of theories of information structure (i.e. Prince 1981…)



¡H* L%

L* HL%

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