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Why did you say that Rama called the child? -Is this sentence ambiguous?

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binumal:
Why did you say that Rama called the child? -Is this sentence ambiguous?- Does this sentence have the following two reading.
1. You said Rama called the child for some reason x, what is that reason X ( You said that Rama called the child for some reason, What is that reason? )
2. For some reason X you said Rama called the child , what is that reason.( You said Rama called the child, why did you say that?                                                                    Kindly give me an answer, Thanks in advance

Daniel:
The "why did you say it?" reading is obvious, but a pragmatically unusual question to ask.

The "what did you say was the reason that..." reading is awkward grammatically at best (I'd give it a question mark or star for ungrammatical) although I can understand the intent of the question for pragmatic reasons. Here I don't think this is so much a structural issue but a semantic one: you're sort of asking two questions at once-- "What did you say?" + "Why did he...?". I'd rephrase to express this clearly.
One option is "Did you say why Rama called the child?" with an implicature that you want the answer to the embedded question too.

binumal:
Thank you Daniel, One more question See the following Sentence
1.  John  said that Raj  called the child to congratulate him for scoring high- what would be the corresponding " why question?" (  Why did John say Raj called the child ? - the embedded qn.reading)
2. John said that Raj called the child inorder to implicate that he too played a role in the incident of  assaulting the child. (   Im not sure whether I have expressed it clearly )

Daniel:

--- Quote ---1.  John  said that Raj  called the child to congratulate him for scoring high- what would be the corresponding " why question?" (  Why did John say Raj called the child ? - the embedded qn.reading)
--- End quote ---
This seems really awkward to me too. But I guess you can phrase it like that if you really want to. It's like some sort of weird emphatic, almost echo question. There must be emphatic stress on "Why". It has the same problem as above, although maybe not quite as bad ("you" is especially strange pragmatically I think?).

I have to say that I think my intuitions are blurring here. I'd say that I'd think about it more and tell you later, but unfortunately my intuitions would probably just be blurrier after thinking about it more!

My feeling about these sentences is that I really don't like the interrogative mood mixed with an (indicative?) entailment that John said something in the first place. "Why did John..." should be about John, and these embedded readings are not about John. The question then is entirely embedded, after assuming that John said something and you can ask a question about it. The expression would be something like 'putting the cart before the horse'.

It's not so bad with a different question word:
"What did John say the man saw?"
But I think that is because "John said what." is a plausible related sentence. "John said why." is missing something.

I assume you're looking at embedding effects. But you might also want to think about the question word "why" specifically. I recall seeing a recent conference or workshop along the lines of "why is why different?" looking at syntax.

binumal:

--- Quote from: Daniel on May 15, 2018, 03:55:36 PM ---
--- Quote ---


It's not so bad with a different question word:
"What did John say the man saw?"
But I think that is because "John said what." is a plausible related sentence. "John said why." is missing something.


--- End quote ---
- Is that  due to complement/non-complement difference?

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