Veneeta Dayal will give a colloquium talk on “Puzzles from the Interrogative Left Periphery” at CUNY Graduate Center on March 11, 2021
March 8, 2021
The talk presents several inter-related puzzles:
Puzzle 1: Why does declarative syntax plus rising intonation lead to a biased question in some languages (English) but is ambiguous between a neutral and a biased interpretation in others (Hindi-Urdu)?
Puzzle 2: Why can polar questions be mono-clausal as matrix questions in every(?) language but not in at least some embedded positions in some languages (Hindi-Urdu)?
Puzzle 3: Why do some predicates embed mono-clausal polar questions while others require alternative polar questions in Hindi-Urdu?
Veneeta argues for an articulation of the interrogative left periphery, with question meaning being built up incrementally at three points in the structure. The syntax, semantics, pragmatics and prosody is distributed along the left periphery in ways that shed light on the puzzles mentioned above.