Polar question particle -aa in Malabar Malayalam

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/95471
Dokumentart: ConferencePaper
Date: 2019-12-05
Language: English
Faculty: 9 Sonstige / Externe
Department: Allgemeine u. vergleichende Sprachwissenschaft
DDC Classifikation: 400 - Language and Linguistics
490 - Other languages
Keywords: Linguistik , Semantik , Malayalam
Other Keywords:
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This paper provides an account for the properties of the polar question particle -aa in Malabar Malayalm, which is, in some crucial aspects, similar to its Hindi counterpart kyaa. Using instances of its occurrence in polar and alternative questions, and non-occurrence in wh- questions and declarative disjuncts, we discuss the unique manner in which -aa attaches only to clausal disjuncts and try to provide a semantic account for this pattern. Data from other major Dravidian languages have also been used for this purpose. We argue that -aa qualifies as a polar question particle since it resides in ForceP and has a presuppositional requirement of a singleton- set question as its complement. An additional supporting argument for this claim is that it exhibits all the diagnostic patterns of a root phenomenon. The second claim of the paper, that -oo in Malayalam is a polar question operator, is supported by the fact that it occurs only in polar and alternative questions. Like in more standard Hamblin semantics, we take the line that there is a distinction between the question operator that forms polar questions and the question operator that forms wh-questions, because the first takes a single proposition for its complement, whereas the second takes a set of propositions.

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