Questioning speech acts


  • Jess H.-K. Law
  • Haoze Li
  • Diti Bhadra



We investigate the sentence-final particle ho from Cantonese, which can stack on top
of other sentence-final particles indicating various types of speech acts. We argue that ho is a
higher level question operator that operates at the level of speech acts. More concretely, it takes
a speech act (assertion or question) and returns a new interrogative speech act asking whether the
input speech act can be felicitously performed by the addressee. We take the presence of this
kind of higher level question operator in natural language as novel evidence that a mechanism for
operating on speech acts is needed. Building on Farkas and Bruce (2009), Rawlins (2010), Bledin
and Rawlins (2017), we develop a mechanism in the style of Update Semantics for operating on
speech acts.
Keywords: speech acts, sentence-final particles, Cantonese, update semantics.





Law, Jess H.-K., Haoze Li, und Diti Bhadra. 2018. „Questioning Speech Acts“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 61 (Januar):53-70.