© 2015, De Gruyter Mouton. All rights reserved. In this paper we investigate the role of prosody and gesture in the interpretation of yes-answers to negative yes/no-questions in Catalan, a language with a polarity-based system of confirmation/contradiction of negative yes/no-questions. Two rating experiments were conducted to test (i) whether yes-answers to negative yes/no-questions are perceived as ambiguous by Catalan speakers when prosody and gesture are not available (Experiment 1), and (ii) whether the interpretation of sí 'yes' as an answer to a negative yes/no-question is dependent on prosodic and gestural properties of the answer (Experiment 2). Our results show that yes always asserts a salient propositional discourse referent, which can be either p or ¬p. Intonation and gesture guide the interpretation of yes-answers to negative yes/no-questions in Catalan, and we show that a yes-answer with a marked intonation and gesture is to be interpreted as a denial or REJECT of a salient propositional discourse referent.
- Negative yes/no-questions