Incrementality and Clarification/Sluicing potential


  • Jonathan Ginzburg
  • Robin Cooper
  • Julian Hough
  • David Schlangen


Incremental processing at least as fine grained as word-by-word has long been accepted as a basic feature of human processing of speech (see e.g., Schlesewsky and Bornkessel (2004)) and as an important feature for design of spoken dialogue systems (see e.g., Schlangen and Skantze (2009); Hough et al. (2015)). Nonetheless, with a few important exceptions (see e.g., Kempson et al. (2016)), incrementality is viewed as an aspect of performance, not semantic meaning. Moreover, it seems to entail giving up on compositionality as a constraining principle on denotations. In this paper, we point to a variety of dialogical phenomena whose analysis incontrovertibly requires a semantics formulated in incremental terms. These include cases, above all with sluicing, that call into question existing assumptions about ellipsis resolution and argue for incremental updating of QUD. The incremental semantic framework we sketch improves on existing such accounts (reviewed in Peldszus and Schlangen (2012); Hough et al. (2015)) on both denotational and contextual fronts: the contents we posit are in fact tightly constrained by a methodological principle more restrictive than traditional compositionality, namely the Reprise Content Hypothesis (Purver and Ginzburg (2004); Ginzburg and Purver (2012); Cooper (2013a)), embedded within independently motivated dialogue states (Ginzburg (2012)).


How to Cite

Ginzburg, J., Cooper, R., Hough, J., & Schlangen, D. (2019). Incrementality and Clarification/Sluicing potential. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 21(1), 463–480. Retrieved from