Quantifying question particles in German: syntactic effects on interpretation

  • Malte Zimmermann


The paper presents an analysis of the German quantifying question particles (QQPs) w-so and w-alles. It is shown that the syntactic position of these particles, i.e. their formal association with a particular wh-item, is relevant for their semantic representation, contrary to claims in Beck (1996). The effects of syntactic structure on semantic interpretation are captured by treating QQPs as modifiers on structured propositions that place additional restrictions on the question domain introduced by the wh-item: w-so introduces a plurality condition on the answer space, whereas w-alles has two meaning components: next to adding a plurality condition, it indicates that the question requires an exhaustive answer. The existence of explicit markers of exhaustiveness in wh-questions has important consequences for the analysis of wh-questions as inherently exhaustive (Groenendijk & Stokhof 1982, 1984) or not (Beck & Rullmann 1999).
How to Cite
Zimmermann, M. (2019). Quantifying question particles in German: syntactic effects on interpretation. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 11, 627-641. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2007.v11i0.669