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New perspectives on bias in polar questions

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A study of Hungarian -e

image of International Review of Pragmatics

The aim of this paper is to provide new insights for the analysis of bias in polar questions by showing that the distinction proposed by Sudo (2013) between evidential and epistemic biases leads to an integrated picture of the Hungarian system of polar interrogatives. For the first time, a comprehensive analysis of this system is given here and it is shown how the contributions of certain formal features, such as the interrogative and the negative particles, can be captured independently. This perspective helps to explain restrictions on the occurrences of the different forms of polar interrogatives in Hungarian with respect to a large number of question uses. The paper derives the biases associated with the individual constituents from different sources and makes some proposals on how their impact could be incorporated into a formal model of dialogue.

Affiliations: 1: Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian Academy of Sciences


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