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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Abstract

This paper provides an account for the unavailability of short-form functional reading answers to multiple wh-questions, contrary to their availability with wh-questions with a quantifier. I propose that a question is interpreted as either a set of propositions or a single proposition and that the former admits long-form answers while the latter admits short-form answers. I also argue that the short-form answer is not just an elided form of the long-form answer, but rather is derived by a second Q-operator, Q2, which requires an individual in w’ identical to an individual in w, contrary to the case of long-form answers. Importantly, I show the semantics of short-form answers (involving Q2) is not compatible with multiple wh-questions (because of a type mismatch), but is compatible with functional readings in wh-questions with a quantifier.

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