Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Christopher Potts

Second Advisor

Angelika Kratzer

Third Advisor

John Kingston

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Linguistics


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.