Responsive predicates are question-embedding: evidence from Estonian


  • Tom Roberts



The proper semantic treatment of the complements of Responsive Predicates (ResPs),
those predicates which may embed either declarative or interrogative clauses, is a longstanding
puzzle, given standard assumptions about complement selection. In order to avoid
positing systematic polysemy for ResPs, typical treatments of ResP complements treat their
arguments either as uniformly declarative-like (propositional) or interrogative-like (question).
I shed new light on this question with novel data from Estonian, in which there are verbs
think-like meanings with declarative complements and wonder-like meanings with interrogative
complements. I argue that these verbs’ meaning is fundamentally incompatible with a
proposition-taking semantics for ResPs, and therefore a question-taking semantics is to be preferred.
Keywords: responsive predicates, embedded clauses, interrogatives, contemplation, Estonian.





Roberts, Tom. 2018. „Responsive Predicates Are Question-Embedding: Evidence from Estonian“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 61 (Januar):271-88.