Linguistics in the Netherlands 2014
  • ISSN 0929-7332
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9919


Parentheses do not affect the semantic truth conditions of the host clause, but they do affect the discourse structure. We propose a maximally simple update system for the conversational context. Presuppositions are treated as past requests for the interlocutor’s consent. Parentheticals act like overt presuppositions unless they are linearly last in the utterance, in which case they can be taken as a current update request. This has consequences for the interlocutor’s ability to target a parenthetical message. We predict that sentence-final parentheses, and in particular attributive appositives, can be generically addressed, but medial ones only by a specific response. We also discuss why certain non-clausal parentheses, including identifying appositions, behave differently.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Appositions; discourse; parenthesis; presuppositions; relative clauses; truth
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error