[LAGRAM] Katja Jasinskaja (Cologne)
UPS Pouchet (salle à confirmer)
Salience and (not-)at-issue status of subordinate clauses
Katja Jasinskaja (Cologne)
The standard assumption in semantics is that not-at-issue content (presupposition, conventional implicature) cannot be the target of a direct rejection like "No, she didn’t" or "That’s not true" because it does not constitute part of the proper truth-conditional content of a sentence. In this paper I review psycholinguistic evidence and argue for a radically different explanation of this phenomenon: Answer particles like "no", VP ellipsis in "she didn't", the demonstrative pronoun "that" in "That’s not true" are anaphoric expressions that require a salient antecedent clause for their interpretation. However, not-at-issue content is usually contributed by syntactically subordinate constructions, both clausal and non-clausal. Subordinate clauses in turn have reduced salience in discourse as compared to main clauses (and subordinate non-clausal constructions presumably even more so). In this talk I will show that not only appositive relative clauses (ARCs), which are standardly believed to contribute not-at-issue content, but also other kinds of subordinate clauses exhibit a typical "non-at-issue pattern" with respect to direct rejection. This in turn raises questions about the place of ARCs among other devices contributing not-at-issue content, about the usefulness of the rejection test as a diagnostic, about the nature of not-at-issue content as such and its relationship to projection.