Non-resolving responses to polar questions: A revision to the QUD theory of relevance

  • Omar Agha
  • Alex Warstadt

Abstract

The influential Question Under Discussion (QUD) theory of discourse (Roberts, 2012) formal- izes Grice’s notion of relevance. In this paper, we identify a class of relevant discourse moves where Roberts’s account undergenerates, and propose a more inclusive definition of relevance. For example, if asked Should we cancel the picnic?, one can reply If it rains without fully re- solving the question. However, in Roberts’s theory, all relevant responses to polar questions are predicted to fully resolve the question because a relevant answer must eliminate at least one alternative in the QUD. We propose that a non-resolving response to a polar question is relevant if it eliminates a set of worlds that overlaps with only some alternatives in the QUD. The new account turns out to make good predictions in the domain of polar questions, and beyond.
Published
2020-09-17
How to Cite
Agha, O., & Warstadt, A. (2020). Non-resolving responses to polar questions: A revision to the QUD theory of relevance. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 24(1), 17-34. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2020.v24i1.850