Negation in Certain Rhetorical Questions in Japanese


  • Takeshi Oguro Chiba University of Commerce


Rhetorical questions are widely believed to be not semantically ordinal questions but negative statements, owing to the work of Sadock (1974) and Han (2002) and others. Recently, Caponigro and Sprouse (2007) have claimed that rhetorical questions are in fact ordinary questions both semantically and syntactically, while they are pragmatically exceptional in that the answer is known both to the Speaker and the Addressee. This paper shows, contrary to Caponigro and Sprouse (2007), that Japanese has a type of question which is unambiguously understood as rhetorical and offers a syntactic analysis of such questions, based on the split CP hypothesis.