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Constraining interpretation: Sentence final particles in Japanese

Christopher Davis, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation is concerned with how pragmatic particles interact with sentential force and with general pragmatic constraints to derive optimal dynamic interpretations. The primary empirical focus of the dissertation is the Japanese sentence final particle yo and its intonational associates. These right-peripheral elements are argued to interact semantically with sentential force in specifying the set of contextual transitions compatible with an utterance. In this way, they semantically constrain the pragmatic interpretation of the utterances in which they occur. These conventional constraints on interpretation are wedded with general pragmatic constraints which provide a further filter on the road to optimal interpretation.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Davis, Christopher, "Constraining interpretation: Sentence final particles in Japanese" (2011). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3465192.