Ellipsis and Movement in the Syntax of Whether/Q...or Questions


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Abstract
In English, a non-wh-question may have a disjunctive phrase explicitly providing the choices that the question ranges over. For example, in (1), the disjunction or not indicates that the the choice is between the positive and the negative polarity for the relevant proposition, as spelled out in the yes/no (yn)-question reading (2) and in the answers (2a,b). Another example is (3). The disjunction in (3) can be understood as providing the choices that the question ranges over, hence giving rise to the alternative (alt-)reading in (4) and eliciting the answers in (4a,b). (Cf. Karttunen (1977) and Higginbotham (1993) for the semantics of yn/alt-questions).
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