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Question particles: Thai, Japanese and English

Bailey, Laura R. (2013) Question particles: Thai, Japanese and English. Linguistica Atlantica, 32 . pp. 34-51. ISSN 1188-9932. (KAR id:42735)


This article focuses on polar question particles in Thai and Japanese: both languages have a sentence-final polar question particle (m and ka respectively). The two languages show considerable similarity in their question-forming strategy; however, differences arise in terms of the type of question in which the particle can occur. I argue that the question particle in each case originates from a disjunctive clause, but, in Thai, the particle retains its disjunctive character, whereas in Japanese it has progressed to a true question particle. The analysis has prediction potential for English, where similar question particles may arise. English does not have polar question particles, but it does have a large number of final discourse particles, as well as what looks like a final disjunction exhibiting some question particle properties. I suggest that, while this is not a final question particle, if it ever were to become one it would be on the model of Thai rather than Japanese. The potential for this development into a question particle to occur, however, depends upon a trigger experience, which at present is absent. Reanalysis has therefore not taken place.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: syntax, question particle, polar question, typology, disjunction, reanalysis,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Depositing User: Laura Bailey
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2014 16:57 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 15:52 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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