On the Rise and Fall of Declaratives

  • Tue Trinh
  • Luka Crnič


This paper argues for a new way of thinking about semantic and pragmatic effects of particular sentence intonation patterns. The main focus of the paper is on the so-called rising declaratives, i.e. sentences that have the surface structure of a declarative sentence but are pronounced with a rising pitch contour. Rising declaratives differ from both declaratives with a falling pitch contour and questions in their pragmatic effect. Our goal is to account for this difference. We propose that rising intonation contour is syntactically realized. Its semantic import is to determine the resolution of a variable in the speech act projection, i.e. rising intonation operates on speech acts. The pragmatic effects associated with rising declaratives are shown to follow from this minimal assumption and the independently motivated tenets of speech act theory.
How to Cite
Trinh, T., & Crnič, L. (1). On the Rise and Fall of Declaratives. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 15, 645-660. Retrieved from https://ojs.ub.uni-konstanz.de/sub/index.php/sub/article/view/405