photograph Workshop on The Syntax of Answers to Polar Questions

8th -9th June 2012

The answer to a polar question (yes/no question) is minimally ‘yes’ or ‘no’. There may not seem to be a lot to say about the syntax of such expressions. However, when we consider a wider range of languages and a wider range of questions, there is some interesting variation in the form of the answers.  The range and the limits of variation have implications for the syntax and semantics of these expressions  as well as for the questions that license them, and for the syntax of ellipsis, focus, and negation.

To date very few languages have had their answering system investigated in any detail. What are the facts? That’s one question we hope to shed some light on in this workshop. What is the syntax and semantics of answers to polar questions in general? What does the variation, within languages, in relation to different types of questions, as well as across languages, tell us about this?

Invited speakers:

Donka Farkas (Santa Cruz),
Ana Maria Martins (U. of Lisbon),
Kyle Rawlins & Ruth Kramer (John Hopkins & Georgetown).

To register, please email Laura Bailey -

Further details about this workshop can be found here.

published on: 7th June 2012