A Question About Interrogatives

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teotlxixtli
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A Question About Interrogatives

Post by teotlxixtli »

Hello all! I've got a language that denotes yes-no questions by following the question with either ewo "yes" or owi "no" depending on which answer the speaker suspects. I had an idea for two interrogative moods, Positive and Negative, that both pose a question but which imply different expected answers based on which is used. Take this example sentence:

sokahu, ewo? means "Do you see me?"
sokahu, owi? means "Do you not see me?"

Therefore, could there be a construction like sokahuhewo to be the positive interrogative and sokahuhowi to be the negative interrogative? I like the idea but I haven't seen any evidence for it in the real world, only languages that use the first method shown.
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Omzinesý
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Re: A Question About Interrogatives

Post by Omzinesý »

Are you basically asking if an interrogative can be a morphological verb mood?
Greenlandic comes to my mind first.

Or are you asking if 'yes' and 'no' can be cliticized to the verb?
It seems natural grammaticalization.
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Creyeditor
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Re: A Question About Interrogatives

Post by Creyeditor »

I think I have heard both strategies, but usually the no(t)-strategy is more common. Note also that in many languages so-called tag-questions are not the main strategy for polar questions.
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teotlxixtli
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Re: A Question About Interrogatives

Post by teotlxixtli »

I see, the words "yes" and "no" just get cliticized onto the verb, they don't get categorized as separate positive and negative interrogative moods. Thanks!
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Sequor
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Re: A Question About Interrogatives

Post by Sequor »

teotlxixtli wrote: 11 Jan 2021 21:31they don't get categorized as separate positive and negative interrogative moods.
That is also possible. Maybe the clitics become so enmeshed with the verb phonologically and grammatically that they become conjugations. "Mood" is not the normal word for such a thing though, but "polarity". Japanese includes polarity as an axis of conjugation: positive kakeru and its negative counterpart kakenai, positive kaku and negative kakanai, positive kakeba and negative kakanakereba, positive kakimasu and negative kakimasen, positive kakimashita and negative kakimasen-deshita...
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Re: A Question About Interrogatives

Post by Salmoneus »

Is that true?

Positive and negative commands are generally considered to have different modality. Is this not also the case for interogatives?


EDIT: even if the two "moods" are analysed as polarity variants within a single mood, it would surely still make sense to refer to them as moods in the context of a language that otherwise lacked polarity distinctions.
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Sequor
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Re: A Question About Interrogatives

Post by Sequor »

Salmoneus wrote: 12 Jan 2021 23:37Is that true?

Positive and negative commands are generally considered to have different modality. Is this not also the case for interogatives?
Maybe if the morphology suggests it... I mean, in European languages the positive imperative is often considered a distinct mood because it often has unique morphology, plus its negative counterpart is = the subjunctive, isn't it? Because the axis of "mood" is used for things like indicative, subjunctive, optative, conditional.

Although I'm sure I'm going to find languages with a distinct negative command / prohibitive, that in some way stands in contrast to indicative and subjunctive, if I start looking for them...
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