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Regular rates
(register after April 15):
Rutgers affiliate, not volunteering
: $75
Academic: $200
Non-academic/industry: $400

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Questions Under Discussion

Over the past thirty years, the idea that discourse is structured by Questions Under Discussion (QUDs) has become increasingly influential in semantics and pragmatics  (Carlson 1983, van Kuppevelt 1995, 1996; Ginzburg 1996, 2012; Roberts 1996/2012, 2004). QUDs are sometimes provided by explicit questions, but more typically are implicit. Related to this idea is the claim that the interpretation of particular utterances may be dependent on the QUD in various ways. This course introduces students to the role of the QUD in modeling discourse and interpretation.

We will address three questions in the five class meetings:

  1. How does the QUD bear on interpretation? Here we will explore phenomena such as focus sensitive expressions, projection and implicature which have been argued to show the effect of QUD on interpretation.
  2. What is a QUD and how can it be formally modeled? Here we will introduce Craige Robert’s QUD-based discourse model and related models.
  3. How do interlocutors recognize the current QUD? This topic concerns how interlocutors identify the QUD. This identification depends on three sources of information: information-structure, including the contribution of prosody; lexico-pragmatic constraints contributed by particular lexical items; and discourse-pragmatic constraints on conversational contributions.

Course Materials

David Beaver

David Beaver
University of Texas, Austin

Craige Roberts

Craige Roberts
The Ohio State University

Mandy Simons

Mandy Simons
Carnegie Mellon University

Judith Tonhauser

Judith Tonhauser
The Ohio State University

 

 

   
 
 
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