Linguists have realised for some time that predicates of the 'know' and 'wonder' classes behave differently in semantic terms with respect to their interrogative complements, but have not so far fully understood how or why. This book seeks to explore and to provide solutions to this and to related problems in explaining the meaning and grammar of embedded interrogatives and the predicates that take interrogative complements.
This paper presents an analysis of negative polarity items (NPIs) in Hindi. It is noted that NPIs in this language are composed of a (weak) indefinite plus a particle bhii meaning ‘even’. It is argued that the compositional semantics of this combination explains their behavior as NPIs as well as their behavior as free choice (FC) items. I assume that weak Hindi indefinites like ek and koi are to be viewed as a predicate that I call one, a predicate that (...) is true of everything that exists. I further assume that bhii exhibits association with focus with the indefinite, and that this leads to contradictory implicatures in positive contexts. The behavior of these phrases in a variety of syntactic contexts is discussed, including constructions like correlatives. Finally, I provide a comparison with analyses of English any, and discuss the relevance of the analysis presented here for that of any. (shrink)