This squib studies the order in which elements are added to the shared context of interlocutors in a conversation. It focuses on context updates within one hierarchical structure and argues that structurally higher elements are entered into the context before lower elements, even if the structurally higher elements are pronounced after the lower elements. The crucial data are drawn from a comparison of relative clauses in two head-initial languages, English and Icelandic, and two head-final languages, Korean and Japanese. The findings have consequences for any theory of a dynamic semantics.
hierarchy, pragmatics, redundancy, dynamic semantics, Common Ground
How to Cite
Ingason, A. K., (2016) “Context updates are hierarchical”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 1(1): 37. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.71