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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2017, Vol. 48, No. 4, Pages 651-678
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00257)
© 2017 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Remind-Me Presuppositions and Speech-Act Decomposition: Evidence from Particles in Questions
Article PDF (466.95 KB)
Abstract

In this article, we investigate questions like What is your name again?, which presuppose that the answer was already made common-ground knowledge in the past (Sauerland 2006). We call this a remind-me presupposition. While repetitive particles can trigger a remind-me presupposition in German and English, Japanese uses a specialized particle kke to bring about such a presupposition. We argue for an account of remind-me presuppositions based on syntactic decomposition of the question speech-act into an imperative part and a make-it-known part. On this account, the repetitive particles take scope between the two parts of the decomposed question speech-act. The proposal correctly predicts how both particles interact syntactically with the periphery of the clause in slightly different ways. The interaction with polar questions corroborates our proposal that the decomposed question speech-act parts are syntactically projected parts of the question structure. Our data therefore corroborate a syntactic representation of aspects of speech-acts.