Biased questions, intonation, and discourse

Brian Reese, Nicholas Asher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


In chapter 7 'Biased questions, intonation, and discourse', Brian Reese and Nicholas Asher explore how the intonation contributes to what is said through an examination of a particular sentence type, focusing on interrogative constructions that give rise to biased questions. The authors examine three kinds of interrogative construction, tag questions, negative polar questions and what they call 'emphatic focus questions'. After a critical review of past approaches, it is argued that prosody and information from the syntax/semantics interface combine in these constructions to produce complex speech acts consisting of both an assertion and a question. It is also argued that the study of such interrogative forms sheds light on the complex interaction between prosodic and lexical and compositional semantic information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInformation Structure
Subtitle of host publicationTheoretical, Typological, and Experimental Perspectives
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191721786
ISBN (Print)9780199570959
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press, 2013. All Rights Reserved.


  • Bias
  • Complex speech acts
  • Daniel Büring
  • Intonation
  • Polar questions
  • SDRT


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