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Indecisiveness: The Acceptability of It depends as a Response to Or-questions

Conversation between even the most effective interlocutors can contain points of uncertainty and indecisiveness, but we propose there are some situations in which this indecisiveness can be unacceptable. An example of this is shown in (1), an adjustment to a common conversation between a store cashier and a paying customer:
(1) a. Do you want to use either cash or credit? 
b. ? It depends.
In this paper, we defend the use of ‘it depends’ as a sign of indecisiveness and explore how and when speaker B’s response in (1) can be semantically anomalous. We standardise ineffectiveness as conversational moves that lead to the disobedience of conventions regarding talk exchanges. The conventions in our discussion will primarily include the Gricean maxims of quantity and quality. Through this discussion, we will investigate and identify specific contexts during which ‘it depends’ is acceptable and unacceptable.
We reason that when an interlocutor responds with it depends, they are expressing an uncertainty caused by the variation of their answer depending on the situation. To better understand the meaning conveyed when an interlocutor responds with it depends, we can look at the entailments of the response. Entailments will be defended through conducted cancellation tests.
We can draw an example of the meaning from the conversation introduced in (1) with no creed to the acceptability or otherwise of the response. Statements (2) and (3), show below, are generated entailments of Speaker B’s response:
(1) a. Do you want to use either cash or credit? 
b. It depends.
(2) There are situations where I want to use cash. 
(3) There are situations where I want to use credit.
To conduct the cancelation test, we generated sentences (2a) and (3a), which are conjunctions of Speaker B’s response and the negation of the entailments in (2) and (3), respectively:
(2) There are situations where I want to use cash.
(2a) # It depends and there are no situations where I want to use cash.
(3) There are situations where I want to use credit.
(3a) # It depends and there are no situations where I want to use credit.
We claim that (2a) and (3a) are contradictions. For (2a), if there are no situations where Speaker B wants to use cash, saying it depends would be untruthful and extraneous information. An accurate response would be to say they want to use credit as there are no cases where they want to use cash. Similarly, for (2b), if there are no situations where Speaker B wants to use credit, saying it depends would create a contradiction. Speaker B’s response depends on nothing if they only want one of the two options, so saying it depends would be nonsensical.
From these cancelation tests, we can conclude that ‘it depends’ entails that there are situations in which both given options are possible. We consider this a reflection of what we loosely define as uncertainty and indecisiveness, and will use these entailments as a formalisation of this property for the paper.