Interpreting sentences without prosody and context
What kind of data do we usually see in a linguistic paper? The answer is evident: an isolated sentence. Judging whether a particular sentence in a particular meaning is grammatical in a certain language is the primary tool for many formal approaches, but other researchers also often rely on sentences, for example, when they collect data in the field or make generalizations about predominant word orders in various languages. Sentences are great to analyze a very wide range of phenomena, but there are two obvious drawbacks: they are not well suited to study anything that crucially depends on prosody or on wider context. The paper analyzes several examples and then addresses a more general question: how do we interpret sentences in isolation?