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Expressing Ignorance in the Nominal Domain: Japanese Wh-ka
Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Junko Shimoyama
11-20 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Epistemic indefinites are still not well understood, partly because the existing literature has focused mostly on Indo-European languages. This paper reports two novel observations about the interpretation of Japanese wh-ka indeterminates and assesses the extent to which they are predicted by two existing theories: the Ignorance Implicature Approach (Alonso-Ovalle and Menéndez-Benito 2010 a.o.) and the Lack of Relevant Identification Approach (Aloni 2012 a.o.). The paper shows (i) that the ignorance component of wh-kas disappears in some upward entailing contexts and (ii) that it is not uniform across wh-ka types, and claims that, although these properties are challenging for both theories, they can be accommodated within the Ignorance Implicature Approach.

Published in

Proceedings of the 31st West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Robert E. Santana-LaBarge
Table of contents
Printed edition: $375.00