Sie sind auf Seite 1von 23

Handbcher zur

Sprach- und Kommunikations-

Handbooks of Linguistics
and Communication Science

Manuels de linguistique et
des sciences de communication

Mitbegrndet von
Gerold Ungeheuer

Herausgegeben von / Edited by / Edites par

Armin Burkhardt
Hugo Steger
Herbert Ernst Wiegand

Band 20.2

Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York

Language Typology and
Language Universals
Sprachtypologie und
sprachliche Universalien
La typologie des langues et
les universaux linguistiques
An International Handbook /
Ein internationales Handbuch / Manuel international

Edited by / Herausgegeben von / Edite par

Martin Haspelmath Ekkehard Knig
Wulf Oesterreicher Wolfgang Raible

Volume 2 / 2. Halbband / Tome 2

Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York


Gedruckt auf surefreiem Papier, das die
US-ANSI-Norm ber Haltbarkeit erfllt.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Language typology and language universals : an international handbook /

edited by Martin Haspelmath [et al.] Sprachtypologie und sprachli-
che Universalien : ein internationales Handbuch / herausgegeben von
Martin Haspelmath [et al.].
v. cm. (Handbooks of linguistics and communication science
Handbcher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft ;
Bd. 20)
English, French, and German.
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
ISBN 3-11-011423-2 (v. 1 : alk. paper) ISBN 3-11-017154-6 (v. 2 :
alk. paper)
I. Typology (Linguistics) Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Universals
(Linguistics) Handbooks, manuals, etc. I. Title: Sprachtypologie
und sprachliche Universalien. II. Haspelmath, Martin, 1963 III.
Handbcher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft ; Bd. 20.
P204 .L3 2001

Die Deutsche Bibliothek CIP-Einheitsaufnahme

Language typology and language universals : an international handbook

Sprachtypologie und sprachliche Universalien / ed. by Martin Haspel-
math . Berlin ; New York : de Gruyter
(Handbcher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft ; Bd. 20)
Vol. 2. (2001)
ISBN 3-11-017154-6

Copyright 2001 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, D-10785 Berlin
Dieses Werk einschlielich aller seiner Teile ist urheberrechtlich geschtzt. Jede Verwertung auerhalb der
engen Grenzen des Urheberrechtsgesetzes ist ohne Zustimmung des Verlages unzulssig und strafbar. Das
gilt insbesondere fr Vervielfltigungen, bersetzungen, Mikroverfilmungen und die Einspeicherung und
Verarbeitung in elektronischen Systemen.
Printed in Germany
Satz: Arthur Collignon GmbH, Berlin
Druck: WB-Druck, Rieden/Allgu
Buchbinderische Verarbeitung: Lderitz & Bauer-GmbH, Berlin
Einbandgestaltung und Schutzumschlag: Rudolf Hbler, Berlin

Volume 2/2. Halbband/Tome 2

X. Syntactic Typology
Syntaktische Typologie
Typologie syntaxique
64. Beatrice Primus, Word order typology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 855
65. Gilbert Lazard, Le marquage differentiel de lobjet . . . . . . . . . . . 873
66. Leonid I. Kulikov, Causatives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 886
67. Konstantin I. Kazenin, The passive voice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 899
68. Konstantin I. Kazenin, Verbal reflexives and the middle voice . . . . 916
69. Vladimir P. Nedjalkov, Resultative constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . 928
70. Ray Freeze, Existential constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 941
71. Leon Stassen, Predicative possession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 954
72. Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Adnominal possession . . . . . . . . . . . 960
73. Ekkehard Knig, Internal and external possessors . . . . . . . . . . . . 970
74. Kaoru Horie, Complement clauses . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 979
75. Leon Stassen, Comparative constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 993
76. Vera I. Podlesskaya, Conditional constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 998
77. Peter Siemund, Interrogative constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1010
78. Viktor S. Xrakovskij, Hortative constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1028
79. Laura A. Michaelis, Exclamative constructions . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1038
80. Knud Lambrecht, Dislocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1050
81. Hans Bernhard Drubig, Wolfram Schaffar, Focus constructions . . . 1079
82. Leon Stassen, Noun phrase coordination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1105
83. Bertil Tikkanen, Converbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1112
84. Andrej A. Kibrik, Reference maintenance in discourse . . . . . . . . . 1123

XI. Lexical typology

Lexikalische Typologie
La typologie lexicale
85. Peter Koch, Lexical typology from a cognitive and linguistic point
of view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1142
86. Cecil H. Brown, Lexical typology from an anthropological point of
view . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1178
87. Cliff Goddard, Universal units in the lexicon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1190
88. Niklas Jonsson, Kin terms in grammar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1203
89. Brenda Laca, Derivation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1214
90. Robert MacLaury, Color terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1227
91. Ewald Lang, Spatial dimension terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1251
1010 X. Syntactic Typology

Nedjalkov, Igor V. 1995. Converbs in Evenki In: Traugott, Elizabeth C. & ter Meulen, Alice &
Knig, Ekkehard & Haspelmath, Martin (eds.). Reilly, Judy Snitzer & Ferguson, Charles A. (eds.)
Converbs in cross-linguistic perspective: Structure 1986. On conditionals. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
and meaning of adverbial verb forms (adverbial par- versity Press.
ticiples, gerunds). Berlin, New York: Mouton de Traugott, Elizabeth C. 1986. Conditional mark-
Gruyter, 441464. ers. In: Traugott, Elizabeth Closs & ter Meulen,
Nedjalkov, Vladimir P. 1995. Some typological Alice & Reilly, Judy Snitzer & Ferguson, Charles
parameters of converbs In: Knig, Ekkehard & A. On conditionals. Cambridge: Cambridge Uni-
Haspelmath, Martin (eds.). Converbs in cross-lin- versity Press. 289307.
guistic perspective: Structure and meaning of ad-
Trask, Robert L. 1993. A dictionary of grammatical
verbial verb forms (adverbial participles, gerunds).
terms in linguistics. Routledge: LondonNew
Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 97136.
Palmer, Frank R. 1986. Mood and modality. Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press. van der Auwera, Johan. 1983. Conditionals and
antecedent possibilities. Journal of Pragmatics 7:
Podlesskaya, Vera I. 1995. K tipologii implikativ- 297309.
nyx konstrukcij [On a typology of implicative
constructions]. Voprosy jazykoznanija 6: 7784. van der Auwera, Johan. 1997. Conditional perfec-
tion. In: Athanasiadou & Dirven (eds.). 1997,
Podlesskaya, Vera I. 1997. Syntax and semantics 169190.
of resumption: some evidence from Russian condi-
tional conjuncts. Russian Linguistics 21: 125155. Xrakovskij, Victor S. 1994. Uslovnyje konstruk-
cii: vzaimodejstvije kondicionalnyx i temporalnyx
Rjabova, Irina S. 1998 Jazyk dabida [The Dabida
znachenij [Conditional constructions: the inter-
language]. Moscow: Ponovskij i partnery.
action of conditional and temporal meanings]. Vo-
Roberts, John R. 1988. Switch-reference in Papuan prosy jazkoznanija 6: 129139.
languages: a syntactic or extrasyntactic device?
Xrakovskij, Victor S. (ed.). 1998. Tipologija uslov-
Australian Journal of Linguistics 8.1: 75117.
nyx konstrukcij. [Typology of conditional construc-
Svedova, Natalja J. (ed.) 1970. Grammatika tions]. St. Petersburg: Nauka.
sovremennogo russkogo literaturnogo jazyka [A
grammar of the modern Russian literary language]. Wierzbicka, Anna. 1997. Conditionals and
Moscow: Nauka. counterfactuals: conceptual primitives and linguis-
tic universals. In: Athanasiadou & Dirven (eds.).
Sweetser, Eve. 1990. From etymology to pragmatics: 1997, 1559.
Metaphorical and cultural aspects of semantic struc-
ture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Ziv, Yael. 1997. Conditionals and restrictives on
generics. In: Athanasiadou & Dirven (eds.). 1997,
Thompson, Sandra A. & Longacre, Robert E. 223239.
Adverbial clauses. In: Shopen, Timothy (ed.).
Language typology and syntactic description (Vol-
ume II. Complex constructions). Cambridge: Cam- Vera Podlesskaya, Moscow
bridge University Press, 171234. (Russia)

77. Interrogative constructions

1. Introduction means dedicated to eliciting information,

2. Clause types and associated speech acts henceforth called interrogative constructions
3. Types of interrogative constructions or simply interrogatives. In addition, there is
4. Polar interrogatives always the option to eschew interrogatives
5. Constituent interrogatives and use non-canonical means for obtaining
6. Non-canonical uses of interrogative information.
Depending on the kind of information
7. Special abbreviations
8. References
sought, we can differentiate essentially three
types of interrogatives across the worlds lan-
guages. They may be used (i) to ask whether
1. Introduction a proposition or its negation is true, (ii) to
inquire which values (if any) instantiate the
To acquire information is very important to variables of an open proposition and (iii) to
the human species. Apparently, most if not query which element of a set of alternatives
all languages have developed some particular makes an open sentence true:
77. Interrogative constructions 1011

(1) (a) Does a platypus lay eggs? As is well-known, this conventionalised rela-
(b) What is a platypus? tionship between syntactic structure or clause
(c) Is a platypus a mammal or a bird? type and conversational use is by no means
isomorphic and in actual use declaratives
We will refer to these three types as polar and interrogatives (not so much imperatives,
interrogatives, constituent interrogatives and though) may be associated with various other
alternative interrogatives respectively, but it speech acts (cf. Huddleston 1994 for a good
should be noted that there is a multiplicity summary). For instance, we frequently find
of labels to be found in the literature. Polar declaratives used as questions and interroga-
interrogatives have also been called closed tives in the function of directives:
or yes-no interrogatives/questions and the
set of labels used for constituent interroga- (3) (a) He has come today? (declarative,
tives includes items such as open, special, question)
partial, question-word, wh and informa- (b) Could you pass the salt? (interroga-
tion interrogatives. tive, directive)
Although the existence of interrogative In addition to the three clause types discussed
constructions seems a universal property of so far, we find that some languages (English,
natural languages, languages differ substan- German, etc.) have yet another clause type
tially in the strategies they employ for coding exclamative clauses (J Art. 79) which,
interrogatives. There are seven basic strate- however, is not universal. The speech act
gies of deriving interrogatives, some of them prototypically associated with exclamative
being restricted to particular types of inter- clauses is that of an evaluation:
rogatives: (i) intonation, (ii) interrogative
particles, (iii) interrogative tags, (iv) disjunc- (4) How good a student she is!
tive constructions (v) the order of constitu-
ents, (vi) verbal inflection and (vii) interroga-
tive words. Some of these strategies can occur 3. Types of interrogative constructions
in combination, others may be mutually ex- Common to all types of interrogatives is that
clusive. the speaker uses them to elicit information
Interrogative systems are related to many from the addressee. Depending on the kind
other subsystems of grammar (relative pro- of information requested, we can distinguish
nouns, indefinite pronouns, conditionals, etc.) between polar interrogatives, constituent in-
and interrogative marking may be derived terrogatives and alternative interrogatives.
from or expand into these areas. The expected answer in the case of polar
interrogatives is either yes or no. The
speaker asks the addressee about the truth
2. Clause types and associated value of the proposition expressed by the re-
speech acts levant interrogative clause. Polar interroga-
tives may have either positive or negative
There are three basic clause types to be found
polarity. In the unbiased case, the speaker
in the languages of the world and interroga-
has no expectations with respect to the an-
tives are one of them. Besides interrogative
swer, as in the following example:
clauses, we find declarative and imperative
clauses and with each of these clause types (5) Is 761 a prime number?
a prototypical speech act is associated. The
In many cases, however, the speakers expec-
speech act normally associated with declara-
tations are biased in favour of either a posi-
tives is that of making a statement, with in-
tive or a negative answer. As a rule, positive
terrogatives that of asking a question and
polar interrogatives carry negative condu-
with imperatives it is the issuing of a com-
civeness whereas positive conduciveness is as-
mand (directives), as the following English
sociated with negative polar interrogatives:
examples illustrate:
(6) (a) Have I ever let you down?
(2) (a) She is a good student. (declarative,
(b) Cant you stay a little longer?
(b) Is she a good student? (interrogative, With constituent interrogatives we find an in-
question) terrogative word (who, what, when, etc.) in
(c) Be a good student! (imperative, direc- the position of the unknown information,
tive) which also specifies the kind of information
1012 X. Syntactic Typology

queried. The speaker expects the addressee to interrogatives, languages may select a dif-
supply adequate information for these vari- ferent subset from the set of strategies avail-
ables. Constituent interrogatives can be used able. English embedded interrogatives, for
to query persons, things, times, locations, cir- instance, do not show the intonation typical
cumstances, etc. There are interrogatives with of main clause interrogatives, nor do they
one or with multiple interrogative words: undergo a change in word order (cf. (9)). Em-
bedded polar interrogatives, in contrast to
(7) (a) Who opened the door?
their non-embedded counterparts, must be
(b) Who did what to whom?
introduced by the conjunctions if or whether.
According to Hamblin (1973), a constituent
(9) (a) She wondered if she could trust him.
interrogative such as Who came? denotes the
(b) She wondered who she could trust.
set of propositions constituted by the possible
answers to it (John came, Maria came, etc.).
Karttunen (1977) refines Hamblins proposal 4. Polar interrogatives
by restricting the propositions in the set to
those that are true answers to the question. The strategies for marking polar interrogatives
This approach easily accommodates constitu- in the languages of the world vary within
ent interrogatives with multiple interrogative clearly fixed bounds and comprise the use of
words. special intonation patterns, interrogative par-
The third type of interrogatives to be briefly ticles, the addition of tags, disjunctive struc-
discussed are alternative interrogatives. With tures, a change in the order of constituents
these the speaker offers the addressee a list of and particular verbal inflection. According
possible answers from which he is supposed to the empirical study conducted by Ultan
to choose the correct one: (1978), intonation is by far the most wide-
spread strategy and can be found in nearly
(8) Would you like tea or coffee?
all languages of his sample. As a matter of
Alternative interrogatives are frequently sub- fact, most languages and maybe all seem able
sumed under polar interrogatives and then to mark polar interrogatives solely by into-
come to be analysed as two (or more) coordi- nation (see Geluykens 1988 for a more pessi-
nated polar interrogatives which have been mistic view on the role of intonation). It is
reduced due to ellipsis. Although an analysis slightly less common to mark polar interrog-
of alternative interrogatives in terms of polar atives with interrogative particles and tags,
interrogatives seems possible, it disregards although these strategies are still very fre-
the fact that they cannot be answered simply quent in comparison to the three remaining
by yes or no, but have to be answered ones. To indicate polar interrogatives by a
by one of the conjuncts given. Interestingly disjunctive construction (x or not x) or a dif-
enough, alternative interrogatives can be used ferent order of constituents is relatively rare,
as polar interrogatives once their typical into- and particularly the latter strategy is usually
nation pattern (rise on first and subsequent associated with European languages. Special
conjuncts, fall on last conjunct) is replaced verbal inflection is only reported from poly-
by normal question intonation (final rise). synthetic languages, such as Eskimo, where it
Since the differences and similarities between does indeed make sense to talk of an inter-
polar and alternative interrogatives are rela- rogative mood. It is usually possible to use
tively unimportant from a typological per- intonation in combination with one of the
spective, no distinction will be drawn be- other strategies.
tween these two types of interrogatives in the
following discussion. 4.1. Intonation
The three types of interrogatives intro- The intonation contour most widely em-
duced in this section can be found as both ployed for polar interrogatives, and in fact,
main clauses and subclauses, i. e. they can be interrogatives in general, is a rising one (ca.
either non-embedded or embedded. This arti- 95% of the worlds languages according to
cle concentrates primarily on interrogatives Ultans 1978 sample) with the rise usually be-
as main clauses because much of what can be ing placed towards the end of the contour.
said about non-embedded interrogatives also Greenberg (1966: 80) points out that intona-
holds for embedded structures. It should be tional marking of interrogatives is typically
borne in mind, however, that there are differ- found in clause-final position and accord-
ences and that, for the marking of embedded ingly includes this general property of lan-
77. Interrogative constructions 1013

guages into his set of language universals Apart from these relatively clear intonational
(8). What is also frequently pointed out is patterns, Ultan (1978: 220) also lists some
that the rising intonation typically used for more complex examples, notably the ones of
interrogatives reflects an iconic principle Aramaic and Hausa, which employ a higher
according to which rising intonation, due to ultima followed by a falling extra-high ultima
its openness in terms of pitch or frequency, falling to mid, and the interrogative pattern
is tantamount to uncertainty with regard to of Guaran, which has higher stressed vow-
the truth-conditions of the situation de- els at any point within the contour.
scribed and non-termination of the current Even more interesting, however, are those
turn, whereas the falling intonation usually languages which do not use rising intonation
used in declaratives signals conviction and for interrogatives and falling intonation for
termination. declaratives, but seem to be doing it exactly
(10) Italian the other way round. In Chitimacha, appar-
(a) Suo marito e` ancora \malato. (state- ently, interrogative intonation has a falling
ment) contour whereas declarative intonation has
(b) Suo marito e` ancora /malato? (ques- a rising contour. And with Fanti (Kwa) and
tion) Grebo (Niger-Congo), we have two addi-
Her husband is still ill./? tional languages which deviate in a similar
Given that the marking of polar interroga-
tives with a rising intonation is such a perva- 4.2. Interrogative particles
sive tendency in the languages of the world, Interrogative particles are expressions like
it should not come entirely unexpected to French est-ce que, Polish czy, Finnish k,
also find some variation within this para- Mandarin ma, Slavic li, Turkish mi (cf. Bazin
meter itself. In his sample, Ultan (1978) finds 1984), Bengali ki, etc. and are, after intona-
at least four strategies of placing the rise tion, the most widely employed device for
towards the end of the contour (cf. Table marking polar interrogatives. They can also
77.1). be found with constituent interrogatives, but
are clearly preferred with polar interrogatives.
Table 77.1: Higher pitch towards end of contour Ultan (1978: 226 f.) argues that for some lan-
higher ultima Vietnamese guages it would be more reasonable to talk
higher penult Chontal of interrogative affixes or clitics because there
higher pitch on last stressed these expressions are added to words, usually
vowel Bashkir predicates. Interrogative particles, like inter-
rising toward last stressed rogative intonation, can be analysed as oper-
vowel Hebrew ators which take a declarative as input and
turn it into an interrogative.
(11) Japanese (Hinds 1984: 158)
And although the final rise certainly repre-
(a) yamada-san wa ginkoo de
sents the dominant strategy cross-linguisti-
yamada-Mr. top bank at
cally, there are also languages that mark
polar interrogatives with a higher pitch
towards the beginning of the contour (cf. Ta-
Mr. Yamada works at the bank.
ble 77.2). In fact, what seems relevant typo-
(b) yamada-san wa ginkoo de
logically is whether a language places the
yamada-Mr. top bank at
higher pitch on the left edge or on the right
hataraite-imasu ka?
edge of the contour. The actual realisation of
working ip
either setting can, in all likelihood, be pre-
Does Mr. Yamada work at the bank?
dicted from the phonological rules relevant
for a particular language. Languages may have more than one interrog-
ative particle. In Korean, for instance, which
Table 77.2: Higher pitch towards beginning of has grammaticalised several levels of formal-
contour ity (honorification), we find that different
higher initial syllable Western Desert particles are used at different levels, namely
higher stressed vowels Finnish pnikka (formal), eyo (polite), e (intimate),
nunya (plain). The position indicated by X
1014 X. Syntactic Typology

in (12) below can be taken up by one of (18) Bonus-ne puer est?

these expressions. Is it good that the boy is?
(12) Korean (Chang 1996: 84) Similar facts are also reported from Ute (and
Kui-nun cal cwumwusi-X also Finnish), where the interrogative particle
he-top well sleep-ip -aa is always enclitic to the first constituent:
Does he sleep well?
(19) Ute (Givon 1984: 219 f.)
The position of interrogative particles varies (a) mama-ci-aa u wuu uka-puga?
from language to language although it tends woman-subj-ip that.subj work-rem
to be relatively fixed for any particular lan- Did the woman work?
guage. Dominant positions for interrogative (b) kuu aw-aa paga-kway-kya?
particles to occur in are the beginning or end yesterday-ip leave-go-ant
of a clause with the clause-final position be- Did (she) leave yesterday?
ing slightly preferred (as e. g. in the Japanese
example above). An example of a language The position that an interrogative particle
that places interrogative particles at the be- occupies in a certain language also allows it
ginning of a clause would be Yiddish (cf. to make some predictions with respect to the
(13)). word order type of that languages. As ob-
served by Greenberg (1966: 81) as well as
(13) Yiddish (Sadock & Zwicky 1985: 181) Ultan (1978: 227 f.), initial particles tend to
Ci hot Mojse gekojft a hunt? correlate with verb initial languages whereas
ip has Moses bought a dog final particles are most common with verb
Did Moses buy a dog? final languages. However, this generalisation
Additional languages with clause-initial in- is not without exceptions and what makes it
terrogative particles include Welsh (an), In- even more complicated to formulate clear
donesian (apa) and Hebrew (haim). It is correlations is that various languages have
customary to include into the group of lan- more than one interrogative particle, which
guages with clause-initial particles also those are usually restricted to either clause-initial
in which the interrogative particle follows the or clause-final position. There seem to be no
first constituent of the clause (i. e. where the preferences for the position of interrogative
particle is enclitic to it). One such language is particles in SVO languages. Thai and Yoruba,
Russian (cf. (14)). Here the formation of a for instance, have final particles whereas the
polar interrogative involves the preposing of particle in Lithuanian is initial, but all belong
the constituent that is the focus of the ques- to the basic type SVO.
tion to clause-initial position plus the inser- Finally, a brief remark on the relation be-
tion of the particle li immediately behind it. tween interrogative particles and other do-
mains of grammar seems in order. Traugott
(14) Russian (Comrie 1984: 20) (1985: 291) points out that interrogative par-
ital li ty e`tu knigu?
C ticles are one of the major sources of condi-
read ip you this book tional markers. This is clearly visible in Rus-
Have you read this book? sian, where the marker of the conditional
If some other constituent is the focus of the protasis (esli) has been derived from the cop-
question, it can be placed into clause-initial ula (est) and the interrogative particle (li).
position in a similar manner, again followed Similar observations can be made in Hua (a
by li: Papuan language), as the following example
(15) Russian (Comrie 1984: 20)
(a) Ty li cital e`tu knigu? (20) Hua (Haiman 1978: 570571)
(b) E`tu li knigu ty cital? E -si -ve baigu -e
come 3sg.fut ip will stay 1sg
The situation in Latin is quite comparable to If he comes, I will stay.
the one found in Russian (cf. Sadock &
Zwicky 1985: 182): The close relationship between conditionals
and polar interrogatives is also observable in
(16) Est-ne puer bonus?
languages that grammaticalised their condi-
Is the boy good?
tional marker from a different domain or
(17) Puer-ne bonus est? where the etymology of this marker is un-
Is it the boy who is good? known. In German it is possible to mark the
77. Interrogative constructions 1015

protasis by the constituent order typical of tive tags, with the negative tags frequently
polar interrogatives while dispensing with either including or being formally alike to the
the actual conditional marker (cf. (21)). negative marker of that language (cf. French
Viewed against this background, the inver- nest-ce pas and Khasi ? eem). Positive tags
sion of subject and verb found in certain usually involve a copula or existential predi-
English conditionals finds a simple explana- cate (Rotuman ne ( predicative particle),
tion. Thai chay may is it), interjections (English
eh) and words related to the predicate true
(21) German (Sadock & Zwicky 1985:
(Russian pravda true).
Ist das Buch rot, so mu es mir geh- (24) Russian
ren. Ty ego slysal, pravda?
If the book is red, it must belong to You heard him, didnt you?
(25) German
4.3. Interrogative tags Er ist sehr reich, nicht wahr?
Another strategy for marking polar interrog- He is very rich, isnt he?
atives are the so-called interrogative tags, as
(26) John would not do that, would he?
exemplified in (22) below.
(22) (a) He has gone to Tokyo, hasnt he? The most important difference, however, is
(b) She did not do that, did she? that polar interrogatives based on tags are
always biased with respect to the answer ex-
In many languages, these tags are clearly re- pected (cf. Hudson 1975: 22 ff.). As a rule of
lated to interrogative particles both in mean- thumb, negative tags presuppose a positive
ing and in distribution. Bengali ki, for in- answer, whereas positive tags bias expecta-
stance, is used as interrogative particle and as tions towards a negative answer (cf. (22)).
part of the interrogative tag. Considered on a more detailed level, how-
(23) Bengali (Saha 1984: 131132) ever, the situation observed in single lan-
(a) beral pakhita dhorechilo, noy ki? guages like English and also cross-linguisti-
cat caught not-is ip cally is much more complicated. Ultan (1978)
The cat caught the bird, didnt it? observes that the answer induced by a tag
(b) ki beral pakhita dhorechilo? question depends to a greater extent on the
ip cat caught polarity of the declarative sentence used for
Did the cat catch the bird? forming the question and less so on the po-
larity of the tag (cf. Table 77.3). Although a
When tags are added to a sentence to mark majority of languages in his sample awaits a
it as a question, it usually receives the intona- positive answer to a question formed by com-
tion pattern typical of polar interrogatives in bining a positive declarative with a negative
that language. Still, there is a great number tag (reversed polarity tag), the next most fre-
of differences between these two devices quent constellation is a positive declarative
which shall be discussed in the following par- and a positive tag (constant polarity tag) in-
agraphs. ducing again a positive response, and only
In contrast to interrogative particles, for then do we find negative declarative, positive
which the clause-initial position is no less tag and negative answer. Languages that al-
likely than the clause-final position, inter- low all three parameters being set to a nega-
rogative tags are in the great majority of tive value seem very rare.
cases appended to a (declarative) clause. Out
of the 32 languages in Ultans (1978) sample,
for which tags are clearly attested, there is Table 77.3: Tags and polarity
only one example of a language with an un-
declarative tag response number of
ambiguous initial tag Hebrew halo and
even here we find another tag which is bound
to clause-final position. Another difference P N P 10 (5?)
from interrogative particles is that tags are P P P 5 (1?)
formally not particles, but occur as either N P N 2 (1?)
(content) words (24), phrases (25) or clauses N N N 1
(26). There are negative tags as well as posi-
1016 X. Syntactic Typology

4.4. Disjunction Given that essentially the same construction

In some languages it can be observed that the is used to mark polar interrogatives that are
disjunctive structures normally used for alter- either biased or unbiased with respect to the
native interrogatives have become a possible answer expected, how is it possible to arrive
device for posing polar interrogatives. Ap- at the contextually relevant interpretation of
parently, this has happened in Mandarin the A-not-A construction? In many cases, of
Chinese where the disjunction of an affirma- course, the context will provide the necessary
tive clause and its negative counterpart, the clues, but there are also clues within the rele-
so-called A-not-A construction, has been vant clauses themselves. First, the set of A-
grammaticalised and is now a common way not-A structures used as tags is extremely
of forming such interrogatives (cf. (27)). The limited and highly lexicalised. Apart from the
disjunction is usually not overtly expressed, examples cited in (29)(31), there is only ke
i. e. the disjunctive morpheme haishi is miss- bu key possible and xng bu xng okay that
ing in most of the cases. occur with significant frequency. Even more
important is the fact that A-not-A tags are
(27) Mandarin (Li & Thompson 1984: 53) always added to complete propositions/
ta za`i jia bu za`i jia? clauses, whereas in the case of unbiased polar
3sg at home neg at home interrogatives, the A-not-A structure picks
Is s/he at home? up part of the proposition, usually the predi-
The complete formula exemplified in (27) is, cator.
however, rarely encountered in ordinary con- (32) Mandarin
versation and normally one of the reduced n hu` bu hu` da-z`?
versions given in (28) is used. In other words, you neg know-how hit-word
identical material may be omitted. Can you type?
(28) (a) ta za`i bu za`i jia? Another interesting question concerns the
(b) ta za`i jia bu za`i? differences in meaning and use between A-
Although the A-not-A construction is a per- not-A interrogatives in Mandarin and those
fectly adequate instrument for asking ques- involving the interrogative particle ma. Evi-
tions that are not biased with respect to their dently, in many contexts the two strategies
answer, i. e. that do not carry positive or can be interchanged:
negative conduciveness, the very same struc- (33) Mandarin (Li & Thompson 1984: 57)
ture also finds application in the formation n he bu he pjiu?
of interrogative tags, which, as illustrated in you drink neg drink beer
the previous section, do express expectations Will you drink beer?
towards either a positive or a negative an-
swer. (34) Mandarin
n he pjiu ma?
(29) Mandarin (Li & Thompson 1984: 54) you drink beer ip
zhang-san xhuan he jiu, du` Will you drink beer?
Zhang-san like drink wine right
bu du`? In other contexts, however, only one of the
neg right
two strategies can be employed to yield a
Zhang-san likes to drink wine, fully acceptable interrogative clause. In the
right? following example, the A-not-A construction
would not be appropriate because the context
(30) Mandarin does not allow the speaker to be neutral
n mngtian lai ka`n wo, hao about the proposition in question (cf. 6.):
you tomorrow come see me good
(35) Mandarin
bu hao?
?? n shengb`ng bu shengb`ng?
neg good
you sick neg sick
You come to see me tomorrow,
Are you sick?
O. K.?
(31) Mandarin 4.5. Order of constituents
n fu`qin hen lao, sh` bu sh`? One of the strategies of marking polar inter-
you father very old be neg be rogatives that languages across the world are
Your father is very old, right? not particularly likely to manifest is a change
77. Interrogative constructions 1017

in the order of their basic constituents (inver- 4.6. Verbal inflection

sion). Speaking from a typological perspec- Although, cross-linguistically speaking, rela-
tive, the constituent most likely to be affected tively rare in terms of frequency, the strategy
by inversion is the finite verb. The verb may employed by West Greenlandic (Kalaallisut)
even be the only constituent for which this and Eskimo languages (Inuit) in general for
kind of reordering is possible. Provided a lan- the formation of polar interrogatives seems
guage allows inversion in order to mark po- rather interesting and totally different from
lar interrogatives, what usually happens is the four strategies we have discussed so far.
that the finite verb is put into clause-initial What we find here is special verbal morphol-
position (cf. (36)). ogy exclusively dedicated to interrogative
(36) (a) John is a policeman. formation so that it makes sense to assume
(b) Is John a policeman? an interrogative mood for this group of lan-
Thus, inversion of the verb-fronting type can
only occur in languages whose basic word (39) West Greenlandic (Sadock 1984: 190)
order type is either SVO or SOV; it is ruled (a) nerivutit
out for VSO-languages. In addition, inver- you ate
sion with polar interrogatives is only found (b) nerivit
in those languages that also use inversion as a Did you eat?
means for marking constituent interrogatives Judged against the background that Eskimo
(cf. Greenberg 1966: 83, universal 11). languages are highly inflecting and polysyn-
In English, inversion is restricted to auxil- thetic, such a feature certainly cannot come
iaries and modals and do-support is necessary entirely unexpected. Another language for
to convert clauses lacking such operators into which a verbal strategy of interrogative for-
polar interrogatives: mation is attested is Blackfoot.
(37) (a) John phoned me yesterday. What is also interesting about such lan-
(b) Did John phone you yesterday? guages are the distributional gaps observable
with interrogative morphology. According to
There are only seven examples of inverting Sadock (1984: 198), West Greenlandic shows
languages to be found in Ultans (1978) sam- independent interrogative morphology only
ple, and six out of these seven languages in combination with subjects of the second
come from Europe (English, Finnish, French, and third person. It is not possible to find a
Hungarian, Rumanian, Russian). They be- morphological distinction between declara-
long to just two genetic groups, either Indo- tive and interrogative for clauses with first
European or Finno-Ugric. The only non- person subjects.
European language in this sample to demon-
strate inversion is Malay, a SVO-language (40) West Greenlandic
belonging to the Indonesian branch of the (a) takuvoq
Austronesian family. He sees.
In some languages, the combination of (b) takua?
two or more of the strategies for marking Does he see?
polar interrogatives is not possible. French, (41) West Greenlandic
for instance, prohibits the simultaneous use (a) takuvutit
of inversion and interrogative particle (cf. You see.
(38)). (b) takuit?
Do you see?
(38) (a) Allez-vous a Paris?
(b) Est-ce que vous-allez a Paris? (42) West Greenlandic
(c) *Est-ce quallez vous a Paris? takuvunga
Are you going to Paris? I see. / Do I see?
Russian, on the other hand, can invert to Such an imbalance in the system is probably
VSO while marking the interrogative with the not entirely unmotivated and may be ex-
particle li. Note, however, that word order in plained on the basis of the function interrog-
Russian is relatively free and that the constit- ative clauses have under normal circum-
uent on which the question focus is placed stances. Their main function clearly is to
always comes in initial position. elicit information from the addressee, i. e. to
1018 X. Syntactic Typology

access the addressees knowledge base. Since is not even entirely insignificant. Out of 36
most knowledge relevant to the speaker languages in Ultans (1978) study for which
about himself is contained in the speakers intonation as a means for marking polar in-
knowledge base, the speaker will usually try terrogatives is attested (mostly rising intona-
to acquire information that does not pertain tion or higher pitch), only 12 (or 33.3%) use
to himself. This explains why first person in- the same or a similar intonational pattern
terrogatives are not really needed and can also for marking constituent interrogatives.
mostly be dispensed with. The overall impression that the data give is
that most languages either do not mark
constituent interrogatives by intonation at all
5. Constituent interrogatives
(33.3%) or do so only optionally (33.3%).
Constituent interrogatives differ from polar Languages that do not distinguish between
interrogatives both in form and meaning. declaratives and constituent interrogatives
They cannot be answered simply by supply- intonationally include Fula, Japanese and
ing a truth-value. In posing a constituent Tagalog; representatives of languages allow-
interrogative, speakers expect information ing optional marking of constituent interrog-
that allows them to complete the interpreta- atives are Amharic, English and Turkish.
tion of a proposition. This may be informa- Saying that intonation plays only a minor
tion central to the situation described by that role in the marking of constituent interroga-
proposition, viz. concerning the participants tives, however, should not be taken to mean
and objects involved in it, or more circum- that there is no interesting variation to be
stantial information relating to the relevant found concerning this parameter across the
locational or temporal setting, or to issues worlds languages. By way of exemplifica-
like the manner of execution and the pur- tion, note that the intonation nucleus in Rus-
pose. Natural languages have specific devices sian constituent interrogatives, in contrast to
dedicated to the function of eliciting such comparable English structures, usually falls
substantial information interrogative on the interrogative word (cf. Comrie 1984:
words which can be analysed as placehold- 24).
ers or variables in a proposition to be filled (44) Russian
or assigned a value by the answer (cf. (43)). KTO ljubit Tanju?
(43) Who killed the sheriff? Bill killed who loves Tanya
the sheriff. Who loves Tanya?
Since there does not seem to exist a language The parsimonious use of intonation in con-
without constituent interrogatives, it is safe stituent interrogatives may suggest that natu-
to conclude that all languages have interrog- ral languages have a tendency to use gram-
ative words, although languages differ heav- matical marking in the most economical way
ily in the number of interrogative words they possible (at least in this subdomain of gram-
posess and in the semantic distinctions they mar). After all, constituent interrogatives are
draw. clearly characterised as interrogatives through
Having said this, we have already iden- the presence of an interrogative word. How-
tified the main formal feature of constituent ever, the co-occurrence of interrogative par-
interrogatives across languages: interrogative ticles with interrogative words in approxi-
words. However, nearly all of the strategies mately half of the worlds languages makes
used for marking clauses as polar interroga- clear that interrogative marking may be em-
tives, as discussed in the previous section, can ployed redundantly.
also be found with constituent interrogatives, (45) Japanese (Kuno 1978: 93)
although they play a less important role in (a) Taroo wa kita ka?
this domain and are often optional. Before Taroo top came ip
discussing interrogative words in some detail, Did Taroo come?
let us therefore briefly consider these by now (b) Taroo wa sono okane o dare ni
familiar strategies in the context of constitu- ka?
ent interrogatives. Taroo top the money obj who to
As far as intonation is concerned, it ap- ip
pears that this strategy is much less impor- yatta
tant for the characterisation of constituent gave
interrogatives than polar interrogatives, if it Who did Taroo give the money to?
77. Interrogative constructions 1019

In contrast, the use of tags in constituent in- Last but not least, it appears worth mention-
terrogatives is not attested and may even be ing that the interrogative mood found in Es-
ruled out entirely. This restriction may find kimo is used in the formation of both polar
an explanation in the fact that tags are interrogatives and constituent interrogatives:
mainly used to ask for confirmation and that
this is incompatible with the meaning of con- (47) West Greenlandic (Sadock 1984: 199)
stituent interrogatives. (a) neri-va-?
As a matter of fact, the compatibility of
the various strategies of interrogative forma- Did he eat?
tion with the two (three) types of interroga- (b) su-mik neri-va-
what-inst eat-int-3sg
tives and also the combinatorial restrictions
of these strategies between themselves has What did he eat?
been an issue of much debate in the relevant 5.1. The position of interrogative words
literature (cf. Baker 1970, Wasik 1982, Cheng
1997). What is clear is that not all combi- According to the position of interrogative
nations are possible; what is much less clear words, languages fall into three types: (i) those
is what the relevant constraints are. For in- that put interrogative words obligatorily in
stance, it seems relatively uncontroversial clause-initial position, (ii) those in which in-
that the use of more than one morphological terrogative words occupy the same position
strategy for the marking of polar interroga- as the constituent questioned, and (iii) those
tives is ruled out. Li & Thompson (1984: 55) languages that allow either of these two posi-
point out that the A-not-A construction of tions. The position of interrogative words has
Mandarin, the interrogative tag of that lan- aroused much interest in generative studies
guage as well as the interrogative particle are (cf. Cheng 1997), where these three types of
mutually exclusive. In addition, these strate- languages are referred to as (i) fronting lan-
gies are not compatible with constituent in- guages, (ii) in-situ languages, and (iii) op-
terrogatives. This latter observation from tional fronting languages. The following data
Mandarin, however, cannot be generalised exemplify these three types:
because the interrogative particle of Japanese (48) Finnish (Sulkala and Karjalainen
does occur in constituent interrogatives (cf. 1992: 12)
(45)). What can probably be said with rea- (a) Maija ottaa omenaa.
sonable certainty is that if a language uses Maija take.3sg apple.par
a particle to mark constituent interrogatives, Maija is taking an apple.
then this language will also allow the use of
(b) Mit Maija ottaa?
this particle in polar interrogatives.
what.par Maija take.3sg
How widespread inversion (i. e. the reor-
What is Maija taking?
dering of the major constituents of a clause)
is in the formation of constituent interroga- (49) Mandarin (Cheng 1997: 5)
tives heavily depends on which constituents (a) Hufei mai-le y-ben-shu
we put into focus. As the subsequent section Hufai buy-asp one-cl-book
will show, placing interrogative words in Hufai bought a book.
clause-initial position is very common, and (b) Hufei mai-le shenme?
from this perspective, inversion is nothing Hufai buy-asp what
unusual. However, if we restrict the scope of What did Hufai buy?
the term inversion to the recordering of
subject and verb, as can be observed in lan- (50) Swahili (Haiman 1985: 245)
guages like English and German, the number (a) A-li-fika lini?
of languages that makes use of this strategy 3sg-past-arrive when
drops heavily and is in all likelihood re- When did s/he arrive?
stricted to selected representatives of Indo- (b) kwa nini chakula ki-me-chelewa?
European (mainly Germanic). As the follow- why food 3sg-perf-late
ing example demonstrates, in English this Why is the food late?
kind of inversion occurs only if a constituent Additional fronting languages include Eng-
other than the subject is questioned. lish, German, Hebrew, Supyire, Yoruba, Za-
(46) (a) Who saw him? potec. Further examples of in-situ languages
(b) Who did he see? are Indonesian, Japanese, Lezgian and Man-
(c) When did he see him? darin whereas Egyptian Arabic, Kannada,
1020 X. Syntactic Typology

Korean or Palauan belong to the group of The preceding table shows that VSO-lan-
optional fronting languages. Ultan (1978: guages locate interrogative words in clause-
229) notes that 73.4% of the languages in his initial position, but that they are usually
sample either place interrogative words in found in situ in SOV-languages. No such cor-
clause-initial position obligatorily or show a relation can be established for languages with
strong tendency to do so (i. e. fronting lan- the basic word order type SVO. In this set
guages and optionally fronting languages we find both in-situ languages and those with
taken together) whereas 25% of the lan- initial interrogative words. As long as the
guages investigated locate interrogative focus is on VSO-languages, apparently, the
words in the position of the constituents for expectations that these correlations raise for
which they substitute (i. e. in-situ languages). additional languages are borne out well by
The remaining 1.6% are filled by fairly excep- the data. In the majority of cases, languages
tional languages like Khasi, where interroga- of this word order type seem to have initial
tive words are apparently found in clause- interrogative words. In contrast, it is not dif-
final position, and languages like Gujarati, ficult to find counterexamples to the generali-
which reserve special positions in the clause sation that SOV-languages leave interroga-
for them (preceding the verb phrase in this tive words in situ. Latin would be a case in
case). Interestingly enough, Gujarati behaves point and the universal that Greenberg bases
exactly like Hungarian in this respect. on these correlations is therefore formulated
To decide whether a language is strictly in rather cautiously: If a language has domi-
situ or allows optional fronting of interroga- nant order VSO in declarative sentences, it
tive words is often not easy because what su- always puts interrogative words or phrases
perficially looks like straightforward fronting first in interrogative word questions; if it has
may, on closer inspection, prove to be an en- dominant order SOV in declarative senten-
tirely different construction type. Consider ces, there is never such an invariant rule.
the case of Scottish Gaelic in (51). In this lan- The position of interrogative words has
guage interrogative words may stay in situ, also been proposed to correlate with the posi-
but they can also occur in clause-initial posi- tion of interrogative particles in polar inter-
tion. However, fronting is only possible in rogatives. Baker (1970: 207), based on Green-
relative constructions. bergs (1966) data, hypothesises that only lan-
(51) Scottish Gaelic (Macaulay 1992: 173) guages which locate interrogative particles,
(a) Cheannaich Iain de`? provided they have such particles, in clause-
bought Iain what initial position permit interrogative words in
(b) De` a cheannaich Iain? positions other than those of the constituents
what rel bought Iain they substitute for. According to Baker, the
What did Iain buy? position of such particles predicts whether a
language is in situ or not. Cheng (1997: 13 ff.)
Similar problems in the classification of op-
tional fronting languages are reported by takes up Bakers idea, but cites Hopi, Bahasa
Cheng (1997: 43 ff.). In the three languages Indonesia and Hindi as possible counterex-
she discusses (Egyptian Arabic, Bahasa Indo- amples to his generalisation. According to
nesia, Palauan), fronted interrogative words her own proposal, all in-situ languages pos-
are clearly related to relative clauses as well sess special particles to mark constituent in-
as clefts. terrogatives, although this marking may be
The position of the interrogative word in covert, and all languages with such particles
a given language correlates, to a certain ex- are in situ.
tent at least, with the basic word order type 5.2. Key properties of interrogative words
of that language. In the sample compiled by
Greenberg (1966: 82) we find the following Although there is probably no language that
distribution: lacks interrogative words, languages can vary
greatly in the number of interrogative words
Table 77.4 they possess as well as in the kinds of distinc-
tions they draw in that area. Nevertheless,
position of VSO SVO SOV one typically finds two basic kinds of inter-
interrogative word rogative words. On the one hand, there are
initial 6 10 0 those that substitute for the core arguments
in situ 0 3 11 of a predication (English who, what), and
which inquire about the central participants
77. Interrogative constructions 1021

of the situations denoted by the relevant very little systematic knowledge on this para-
clauses. On the other hand, we also find in- meter and it is not possible to give general
terrogative words that seek circumstantial statements or to draw cast-iron statistical con-
information of the situation in question and clusions. Within the boundaries of Europe we
which, syntactically speaking, one would have find, at the one extreme, languages like Eng-
to analyse as adjuncts (cf. (52a) vs. (52b)). lish, which have neither number nor gender
marking, and at the other extreme languages
(52) (a) Who invited him? / Who did he in-
like Icelandic, which neatly differentiate be-
tween masculine, feminine and neuter as well
(b) When / where did he arrive?
as singular and plural in this domain. Evi-
A number of parameters cut across the group dently, this parameter correlates with the
of interrogative words in argument positions. amount of inflection generally found in a lan-
One of the distinctions that virtually all lan- guage. The following table shows the inter-
guages make, and which seems almost uni- rogative words of Icelandic in the nomi-
versal, is the one between interrogative words native case.
used to inquire about human referents and
those used for non-human referents, i. e. be- Table 77.5: Interrogative words in Icelandic
tween who and what as shown in the exam-
ple below: Icelandic masculine feminine neuter
(53) Who / what did he see? singular hver hver hvad
The relevant distinction in Russian is between plural hverjir hverjar hver
kto and sto, in Mandarin it is between shei
and shenme, in Georgian vin vs. ra, kuka and
mik in Finnish and kina vs. suna in West The interrogatives in (56) exemplify some of
Greenlandic. The few languages that do not these contrasts (cf. Kress 1982: 108):
have this distinction, such as Ute, usually
(56) Icelandic
have distinct interrogative words for animate
(a) Hverjir eru pessir menn?
and non-animate referents instead:
Who are these men?
(54) Ute (Givon 1984: 226) (b) Hverjar eru pessar konur?
(a) aa wuu uka-xa? Who are these women? work.ant (c) Hver eru pessi brn?
Who worked? / Which one Who are these children?
(b) age-ru u cay-kya?
qoru For a language like Finnish, which does not
iw.inanimate break.ant have grammatical gender, but distinguishes
Which thing broke? between human and non-human interroga-
tive words, the distribution in the nominative
There are only three exceptions to this gener- looks as follows:
alisation found in Ultans (1978) sample,
namely Khasi, Sango and Lithuanian, with Table 77.6: Interrogative words in Finnish
Lithuanian probably being the only clear case
of a language where interrogative words do Finnish human non-human
not differ according to the human/non-human
(animate/non-animate) parameter. In both singular kuka ketk
Khasi and Sango we find interrogative words plural mik mitk
which clearly have a preferred interpretation.
Another language which, like Lithuanian,
does not distinguish who and what is the Two additional examples of languages that
closely related Latvian: draw a distinction between singular and plu-
ral in this domain are West Greenlandic and
(55) Latvian
Ute, with West Greenlandic exhibiting a sin-
Kas tas ir?
gular/plural distinction with both human and
Who/what is that?
non-human interrogative words. An English
Another parameter of variation according to interrogative like Who is here? corresponds to
which interrogative words can vary is gender two different interrogatives in West Green-
and number marking. Unfortunately, we have landic:
1022 X. Syntactic Typology

(57) West Greenlandic (Sadock 1984: guages also have special forms reserved for
200 f.) binary oppositions (remnants of a dual). An
(a) Kina maaniit-pa-? example would be Finnish kumpi, which liter- ally means which one of the two, and forms
What single person is here? with a comparable meaning are also found in
(b) Ki-kkut maaniit-pa-t? Latin (uter, utra, utrum).
iw-pl Another interesting contrast is found in
Which people are here? Ute (cf. Givon 1984: 226 ff.), which, appar-
ently, differentiates between referential and
The relevant interrogative words in West non-referential interrogative words, with the
Greenlandic for querying non-human refer- latter being used for type identification, and
ents are suna (sg) and suut (pl). Ute, by com- the former for token identification. Consider
parison, has the relevant contrast only for the following contrast between referential aa
animate interrogative words. Here, the inter- and non-referential pu:
rogative pronoun aa is specified for animate
and singular, aa-mu for animate and plural, (60) Ute
but aga-ru is used for both singular and plu- (a) aa a atu-ci paxa-qa?
ral inanimates. iw.subj goat-obj kill-ant
A very similar distribution is found in Who killed the goat?
Swedish, which differentiates between singu- (b) pu wi-kya?
lar (vem) and plural (vilka) in the case of iw.subj fall-ant
human nouns (cf. (58)), but has vad to substi- What kind of a thing fell?
tute both singular and plural non-human
nouns. The interrogative pronouns of Ute for sub-
ject and object position can be summarised
(58) Swedish as follows:
(a) Vem ppnade drren?
Who opened the door? Table 77.7: Interrogative words in Ute
(b) Vilka ppnade fabriksportarna?
Who (pl) openend the factory UTE SUBJECT OBJECT
ref non- ref non-
It is important to bear in mind, however, that ref ref
the interrogative words in many languages
can be used both as nominals and as adjec- animate sg aa ni aay in
tives. In view of the fact that the adjectives in animate pl aa-mu in-u aa-mu in-u
certain languages show agreement with their inanimate aga-ru pu aga-ru pu
nominal head, it is little surprising that the
interrogative words in these languages also
show agreement. One example of such a In languages with case systems that are more
language would be Icelandic. Many other elaborate than the parsimonious systems of
languages, however, have different, though say English and Chinese, what one typically
clearly related forms for the two uses and finds is that case marking also extends into
then only the adjectival forms show agree- the domain of interrogative words. Out of
ment marking (cf. German welch-, Swedish the 16 cases of Finnish, no fewer than 13 case
vilk- and Latin qui). forms can be differentiated in this domain,
ranging from nominative (kuka) to abessive
(59) German
(kenett). Another language with a fairly
(a) Welcher Mann ist gekommen?
elaborate case system is West Greenlandic.
Which ( man came?
The following table (77.8) shows the full par-
(b) Welche Frau ist gekommen?
adigms of kina (who) and suna (what)
Which ( woman came?
found in this language (cf. Sadock 1984: 200).
(c) Welches Kind ist gekommen?
Which ( child came? As far as interrogative words in non-argu-
(d) Welche Kinder sind gekommen? ment positions are concerned, languages
Which (pl) children came? around the globe appear to distinguish be-
tween at least four different types, seeking in-
Apart from distinguishing between interroga- formation about (i) the location of a situa-
tive words in the singular or plural, some lan- tion, (ii) its temporal setting, (iii) the manner
77. Interrogative constructions 1023

Table 77.8: Interrogative words in West Green- Table 77.9: Semantic distinctions
concept gloss concept gloss
person who time when
singular plural singular plural object what manner how
location where reason why
abs kina kikkut suna suut
erg kia(p) kikkut suup suut
inst kimik kikunnik sumik suunnik In a small-scale and not very representative
abl kimit kikunnit sumit suunnit study, Heine et. al (1991: 5559) try to estab-
all kimut kikunnut sumut suunnut lish correlations between the concept ex-
loc kikunni sumi sunni pressed by an interrogative word and its
perl sukkut phonological and morphological properties.
According to their findings, the interrogative
words for person, object and location are the
of carrying it through and (iv) the reason for ones that exhibit the least phonological and
it. The four English sentences below exem- morphological complexity. In the majority of
plify these options: languages in their sample these concepts are
expressed by monomorphemic and monosyl-
(61) (a) Where did he surprise her? labic forms. Interrogative words for time and
(b) When did he surprise her? manner are usually more complex. The pro-
(c) How did he surprise her? totypical case seems to be a monomorphe-
(d) Why did he surprise her? mic, but polysyllabic word. Most complex in
In addition, languages frequently have inter- terms of morphological structure, however,
rogative words or case-inflected word forms are interrogative words coding reason or
that allow more precise inquiries concerning cause (and also purpose), which usually con-
one or more of these four domains. As for sist of more than one morpheme. In this re-
location, for instance, Early Modern English spect, English why is clearly the exception
draws a clear distinction between source and rather than the rule.
goal (cf. (62)). A similar distinction is found 5.3. Multiple occurrences of
in German, Lezgian, Georgian and Finnish, interrogative words
with woher/wohin, hinaj/hiniz, saidan/sait and
mist/mihin being used to inquire about source Particularly interesting parameters of cross-
and goal respectively. Swedish only codes the linguistic variation can be observed with
goal with a separate word (vart). those clauses that contain not just one inter-
rogative word, but multiple occurrences of
(62) (a) O whither shall we fly from this re- them. Hence, the subject of the subsequent
proach? discussion will be sentences like the follow-
[Shakespeare, Henry VI, 1. 1. 97] ing:
(b) Now; whence come you? [Shake-
speare, The Merry Wives of Wind- (63) Who did what to whom?
sor, 4. 5. 95]
One parameter along which languages differ
Equally noteworthy is the way in which cer- is the position of such multiple occurrences
tain languages distinguish between several of interrogative words in a clause. As was
temporal interrogative words. West Green- discussed in 5.1., languages also show varia-
landic, apparently, uses qanga to inquire tion in the position of interrogative words
about states-of-affairs that happened before when just one of these words is present in
the moment of utterance and qaqugu for a clause. What we mainly find is languages
those that lie in the future (cf. Sadock 1984: that obligatorily front interrogative words to
201). In Kannada, there is, apart from the clause-initial position (fronting languages)
interrogative word corresponding to English and languages in which interrogative words
when (ya:vattu, ya:va:ga), a separate form remain in the position of the constituents
dedicated to days (endu what day). they substitute for (in-situ languages). A very
The semantic distinctions that languages similar pattern of variation can be observed
typically draw in the domain of interrogative when multiple occurrences of interrogative
words are summarised in Table 77.9: words are present in a clause. On the one
1024 X. Syntactic Typology

hand, there are languages like English, which (69) (a) *Koj e vidjal kogo? (Bulgarian)
only front one interrogative word while leav- (b) *Co Monika komu daa? (Polish)
ing additional occurrences in situ. This is ex- (c) *Kto ljubit kogo? (Russian)
emplified by the following pair of sentences:
Another language that obligatorily fronts
(64) (a) John gave the book to Mary. multiple occurrences of interrogative words
(b) Who gave what to whom? is Georgian:
Additional languages following the English (70) Georgian (Harris 1984: 71),
pattern include German, Dutch, Swedish, (a) vin ras qidulobs?
Italian, Spanish, etc. In languages such as who what
these it is usually still possible to locate any Who is buying what?
of the interrogative words in clause-initial po- (b) *vin qidulobs ras?
sition while rearranging the remaining ones who what
according to syntactic rules specific to the
Interestingly enough, there also appear to be
language in question (cf. (65)). Nevertheless,
languages that clearly allow multiple fronting
the non-fronted interrogative words will oc-
of interrogative words, while, at the same
cur in exactly the same positions in which the
time, it does not seem obligatory for them
substituted constituents would occur.
to front all interrogative words. One of the
(65) (a) What did who give to whom? languages for which optional multiple front-
(b) To whom did who give what? ing has been reported is Finnish (cf. (71),
(72)). Nevertheless, it is not entirely clear
On the other hand, we find languages in
whether there is a difference in meaning or in
which multiple occurrences of interrogative
distribution between the two sentences.
words all occur clause-initially, although often
in a well-defined order. Such multiple front- (71) Finnish (Sulkala and Karjalainen
ing languages are most likely a proper subset 1992: 16)
of fronting languages because there is prob- Kuka nauroi kenelle?
ably no language that is in situ for just one who laugh.impf (3sg) who-all
interrogative word, but which becomes front- Who was laughing at whom?
ing if there are more than one of these words
(72) Finnish
contained in a clause. Within the group of
Kuka kenelle nauroi?
European languages, it is the Slavic languages
who who-all laugh.impf(3sg)
that most clearly demonstrate multiple front-
Who was laughing at whom?
ing of interrogative words, as the examples
below illustrate (cf. Cheng 1997: 64 ff.; for a Another parameter of variation can be found
recent treatment within optimality theory cf. in the group of multiple fronting languages
Ackema & Neeleman 1998): itself. This parameter concerns the relative
order of the adjacent interrogative words
(66) Bulgarian
which, on the one hand, may be governed by
Koj kogo e vidjal?
strict rules and, on the other hand, be rela-
who whom saw.3sg
tively unconstrained. One of the rules confin-
Who saw whom?
ing the order of multiple interrogative words
(67) Polish in Bulgarian is that the one in the nominative
Co komu Monika daa? has to come first, followed by an interroga-
what to whom Monica gave tive word in either the accusative or dative
What did Monica give to whom? (cf. Cheng 1997: 77 ff.). Accusative interroga-
tive words, in turn, occur before those in the
(68) Russian
dative (nom acc dat).
Kto kogo ljubit?
who whom loves (73) Bulgarian
Who loves whom? (a) Koj kogo vizda
who whom sees
In these languages, there is a very strong
Who sees whom?
requirement to front all interrogative words.
(b) *Kogo koj vizda
Failing to do so either results in ungrammati-
whom who sees
cality, or the relevant sentence has to be in-
terpreted in a different way, usually as an An additional rule in Bulgarian, apparently,
echo question: regulates the relative order of arguments and
77. Interrogative constructions 1025

adjuncts, with arguments always occurring (78) German

before adjuncts: a. Wer kommt da?
(74) Bulgarian Who is coming?
(a) Koj kude e otisul b. Da kommt wer.
who where went.3sg Someone is coming.
Who went where? As can be seen in Table 77.10, languages may
(b) *Kude koj e otisul either use interrogative words as a source for
where who went.3sg the development of indefinites or simply use
In Czech and Polish, in contrast, the relative the same form for either function.
order of interrogative words is said to be Table 77.10: Interrogative words and indefinite
relatively unconstrained (cf. (75), (76)). It pronouns
should be borne in mind, however, that with
respect to the parameter under discussion, language who indefinite
the judgements of native speakers do not al-
ways coincide and that detailed studies deal- Bulgarian koj njakoj
ing with this parameter from a typological Hungarian ki valaki
point of view do not exist. Polish kto ktos
(75) Czech Japanese dare dare
Kdo kdy koho pozval, nevm Korean nwukwu nwukwu
who when whom invited I dont know Mandarin shei shei
Who invited whom when, I dont
According to Haspelmath (1997), a pervasive
(76) Czech strategy of deriving indefinites from inter-
Kdy kdo koho pozval, nevm rogative words is reduplication. Examples in-
when who whom invited I dont know clude Vietnamese ai ai anybody, whoever
(ai who), Latin ubi-ubi anywhere, wher-
5.4. Additional uses of interrogative words
ever (ubi where) and Khasi kumnu-kumnu
There are quite a few domains of grammar in somehow (kumnu how). Although this
which interrogative words can also be ob- strategy is fairly common and freely distrib-
served to play a role. In the following we will uted all over the world, it is not entirely clear
briefly consider their importance for relative why reduplication should be so suitable for
clauses and indefinites. the derivation of indefinites.
In most European languages interrogative Depending on the limitations defined by a
words are also used as relative pronouns. particular language as well as on the context
This kind of polysemy is not particularly fre- in which such indefinites are used, they can
quent across the languages of the world, but receive mainly two interpretations, either as
in view of the fact that relative clause forma- existential or universal quantifier (J Art. 92).
tion on the basis of relative pronouns is For instance, the preferred interpretation of
mainly restricted to European languages, this Mandarin shenme under the scope of nega-
is certainly little surprising (cf. Comrie 1981: tion is as the existential quantifier (cf. (79)).
142). Languages that do not draw a formal This very sentence could also be read as a
distinction between interrogative words and question (meaning What did Guojing not
relative pronouns include English, Spanish, buy?).
Italian, etc. (cf. (77)), although there is often
no perfect overlap. English is relatively un- (79) Mandarin (Cheng 1997: 97)
restricted in that it can use nearly all inter- Guojing mei-you mai shenme.
rogative words as relativisers. German, in Guojing not-have buy what
contrast, only allows for the adjectival inter- Guojing did not buy anything.
rogative words (welch- which) to be used in In combination with the adverb dou, in con-
this way. trast, shenme must receive a universal inter-
(77) (a) Who did you meet? pretation:
(b) I met the man who you saw. (80) Mandarin (Cheng 1997: 98)
In many languages there is a close relation- Botong shenme dou ch.
ship between interrogative words and indefi- Botong what all eat
nite pronouns (cf. Haspelmath 1997: 170 ff.): Botong eats everything.
1026 X. Syntactic Typology

The close connection between interrogative make sure that the question was understood
words and indefinites is also clearly visible in correctly and/or to gain time to work out the
English indirect questions of the type Youre relevant answer. With this type of echo ques-
looking for something?, which are often tion no syntactic modifications are observ-
understood in the same way as constituent able in English (apart from adjusting the
interrogatives (What are you looking for?). deictic expressions):
Note that replacing the interrogative word by
an indefinite yields the presupposition of a (83) A: How much would you like to give?
question. B: How much would I like to give?
As far as English is concerned, this is true of
6. Non-canonical uses of echo questions given in reply to both polar
interrogative constructions interrogatives and constituent interrogatives.
By comparison, echo questions given in re-
Just as non-interrogative clauses can be used sponse to polar interrogatives in Russian,
to elicit information, it is equally possible to German and French obligatorily take a par-
employ interrogatives for purposes other ticle. In other words, in these languages this
than asking questions (i. e. as indirect speech type of echo questions behaves like an em-
acts). The use of interrogatives as directives bedded question.
was demonstrated in the beginning of this
article (cf. (3b)), but apart from such well- (84) German
known and widely used exploitations, we also A: Hast du dieses Buch gelesen?
find more specific applications. Attention have you this book read
shall be drawn in this final section to echo B: Ob ich dieses Buch gelesen habe?
questions and rhetorical questions. Ja.
Echo questions are used as responses to part I this book read have
either statements or questions. Uttered in re- yes
sponse to a statement they typically express A: Have you read this book? B:
surprise about it and are used to seek con- Have I read this book? Yes.
firmation. In English, this type of echo ques-
tion is not coded by a usual interrogative Rhetorical questions are interrogatives ut-
clause. Instead, normal declarative word or- tered in a context in which the answer to
der is used (cf. (81)), which means that inter- them is given. Therefore, they are frequently
rogative words stay in situ. referred to as questions that expect no an-
swer. As (85) shows, negative rhetorical
(81) (a) A: Ill be 100 next year. B: Youll
questions imply a positive answer whereas
be 100 next year?
those with positive polarity expect a nega-
(b) A: Ive seen a ghost. B: Youve
tive answer.
seen what?
In Russian, by contrast, no syntactic peculi- (85) (a) Isnt the weather terrible?
arities are associated with such echo ques- (b) Who cares, anyway?
tions. Where they differ from normal inter-
Arguably, rhetorical questions can be found
rogatives is in the intonation pattern used (cf.
in all languages and they also appear to be
Comrie 1984: 38). More interesting from a
functioning in a comparable manner. How-
typological point of view is Japanese, because
ever, very little typological work has been
here we find a particle (tte) exclusively dedi-
cated to marking echo questions (cf. (82)). carried out in this area so that we have to
The particle tte is a truncated form of tte ii- confine ourselves to a few brief remarks.
mashita ka, with tte being the quotative par- One interesting observation is reported
ticle, ii-mashita a verb meaning said and ka from Mandarin, where, as discussed in 4.4.,
the interrogative particle. we find two strategies for coding polar inter-
rogatives (the A-not-A construction and the
(82) Japanese (Hinds 1984: 165) particle ma). As Li & Thompson (1984: 57 ff.)
dare deshita tte? point out, it is only polar interrogatives
who was part based on the particle ma that can be used
Who did you say it was? rhetorically. In the following example, the A-
When echo questions are used in response to not-A construction would be inadequate (cf.
a preceding question, they are usually used to 4.4.):
77. Interrogative constructions 1027

(86) Mandarin inst instrumental

he! n ywei wo ernuqungchang ma int interrogative
ha you think I sentimental ip ip interrogative particle
Ha! Do you suppose Im sentimen- iw interrogative word
tal? lig ligature
The reason for this division of labour, Li & nt neuter
Thompson argue, must be sought in the fact par partitive
that A-not-A interrogatives are restricted to part particle
contexts in which the speaker makes no as- past past tense
sumptions about the truth-value of the prop- perl perlative
osition in question (cf. 4.4.). Given that the ref referential
key property of rhetorical questions is that rem remote
the speaker knows the answer, this condition
cannot be fulfilled. 8. References
The main function that is usually attributed
to rhetorical questions is to make an indirect Ackema, Peter & Neeleman, Ad. 1998. Optimal
statement (as demonstrated in (85)). However, questions. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory
they can also be used with a thematicising 16: 3, 443490.
function in order to establish or reintroduce a Baker, Carl Lee. 1970. Notes on the description
discourse theme (cf. And what happens to the of English questions. Foundations of Language 6,
girl? She gets pregnant.). Drawing on a sub- 197219.
stantial corpus of oral narratives from Tamil, Bazin, Louis. 1984. La particule interrogative -mi
Herring (1991) argues that the frequent use of en Turc. In: Valentin, Paul (ed.) Linterrogation.
rhetorical questions in that language, particu- Actes du colloque tenu les 19 et 20 decembre 1983
par le Department de Linguistique de lUniversite de
larly as a thematicising device, has resulted in
Paris-Sorbonne, 8994.
the interrogative words involved being gram-
maticalised into conjunctions: Chang, Suk-Jin. 1996. Korean. Amsterdam: Benja-
(87) Tamil (Herring 1991: 273) Cheng, Lisa Lai-Shen. 1997. On the typology of wh-
Avan en inke illai n n a avan questions. New York: Garland.
he why here neg conj he
Chisholm, William S. & Milic, Louis T. & Greppin,
urukku pon an John A. C. (eds.). 1984. Interrogativity: A collo-
town.dat quium on the grammar, typology and pragmatics of
Why he isnt here, he went to his vil- questions in seven diverse languages. Amsterdam:
lage. Benjamins.
(88) Tamil Comrie, Bernard. 1981. Language universals and
Avan inke illai en n a avan urukku linguistic typology. Oxford: Blackwell.
he here neg conj he town.dat Comrie, Bernard. 1984. Russian. In: Chisholm,
pon an William S. et al. (eds.), 746. Givon, Talmy. 1984. Ute. In: Chisholm, William
Hes not here because he went to S. et al. (eds.), 215243.
his village. Geluykens, R. 1988. On the myth of rising intona-
In example (88) above the interrogative word tion in polar questions. Journal of Pragmatics 12,
en (why) has merged with the conditional 467485.
conjunction nna into an autonomous con- Greenberg, Joseph H. 1966. Some universals of
junction. Even more striking is that there are grammar with particular reference to the order of
also contexts where interrogative elements oc- meaningful elements. In: Greenberg, Joseph H.
cur as conjunctions on their own. Evidently, (ed.) Universals of language. Cambridge, Mass:
MIT Press, 73113.
interrogative constructions across the world
still leave ample room for new discoveries. Haiman, John. 1978. Conditionals are topics.
Language 54, 564589.
Haiman, John. 1985. Natural syntax. Cambridge:
7. Special abbreviations Cambridge University Press.
all allative Hamblin, C. L. 1973. Questions in Montague
ant anterior English. Foundations of Language 10, 4153.
cl classifier Harris, Alice C. 1984. Georgian. In: Chisholm,
conj conjunction William S. et al. (eds.), 63112.
1028 X. Syntactic Typology

Haspelmath, Martin. 1997. Indefinite pronouns. Macaulay, Donald. 1992. The Celtic Languages.
Oxford: Clarendon Press. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Heine, Bernd & Claudi, Ulrike & Hnnemeyer, Sadock, Jerrold M. 1984. West Greenlandic. In:
Friederike. 1991. Grammaticalization. A conceptual Chisholm, William S. et al. (eds.), 189214.
framework. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Sadock, Jerrold M. & Zwicky, Arnold M. 1985.
Herring, Susan C. 1991. The grammaticalization Speech act distinctions in syntax. In: Shopen,
of rhetorical questions in Tamil. In: Traugott, Timothy (ed.). Language typology and syntactic De-
Elizabeth C. & Heine, Bernd (eds.). Approaches to scription. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
grammaticalization, I, 253284. Vol. I, 155196.
Hinds, John. 1984. Japanese. In: Chisholm, Wil-
liam S. et al. (eds.), 145188. Saha, P. K. 1984. Bengali. In: Chisholm, William
S. et al. (eds.), 113143.
Huddleston, Rodney D. 1994. Sentence types and
clause subordination. In: Asher, R. E. (ed.) The Sneddon, James Neil. 1996. Indonesian. London:
Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Oxford: Routledge.
Pergamon Press, vol. 7, 38453857. Sulkala, Helena & Karjalainen, Merja. 1992. Fin-
Hudson, Richard A. 1975. The meaning of ques- nish. London: Routledge.
tions. Language 51, 131. Traugott, Elizabeth C. 1985. Conditional mark-
Karttunen, Lauri. 1977. Syntax and semantics of ers. In: Haiman, John (ed.). Iconicity in syntax.
questions. Linguistics and Philosophy 1, 344. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 289307.
Knig, Ekkehard & Siemund, Peter. To appear Ultan, Russell. 1978. Some general characteristics
Speech act distinctions in grammar. In: Shopen, of interrogative systems. In: Greenberg, Joseph
Timothy (ed.). Language typology and syntactic de- H. (ed.). Universal of human language. Stanford,
scription. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
CA: Stanford University Press, Vol. IV, 211248.
Kress, Bruno. 1982. Islndische Grammatik. Leip-
zig: Verlag Enzyklopdie. Wasik, Zdzisaw. 1982. Zur strukturellen Typolo-
gie der Fragen (anhand ausgewhlter Sprachen der
Kuno, Susumu. 1978. Japanese: A characteristic Gegenwart). Zeitschrift fr Phonetik, Sprachwissen-
OV language. In: Lehmann, Winfried P. (ed.).
schaft und Kommunikationsforschung 35: 4, 466
Syntactic typology. Studies in the phenomenology of
language. Sussey: The Harvester Press, 57138.
Li, Charles N. & Thompson, Sandra A. 1984.
Mandarin. In: Chisholm, William S. et al. (eds.), Peter Siemund, Berlin
4761. (Germany)

78. Hortative constructions

1. Hortative constructions: definition and to stimulate a specific reaction, including a

calculus speech reaction. Despite the transparency of
2. Classification of hortative constructions their meaning (Bring me some water!, Si-
3. Interpretations of hortative constructions lence!, Fire!, etc.), the semantic structure of
4. Semantics of verbs used in hortative hortative constructions comprises three ele-
constructions ments belonging to three different planes:
5. The imperative paradigm
Prescription (consisting of Prescriptor, Re-
6. Description of the imperative paradigm
cipient of Prescription, and Performer of Pre-
7. Actual imperative paradigms as contrasted
with the ideal imperative paradigm
scribed Action); Communication (consisting
8. References of Speaker [ Prescriptor], Listener [ Re-
cipient of Prescription], and Outside Person
not included into the act of communication,
or a third person); and Imposed State of Af-
1. Hortative constructions: fairs whose minimum constituents are Action
definition and calculus P and its Agent [ Performer of Prescribed
Action]. The above semantic model is both
Hortative constructions represent a substan- necessary and sufficient to formulate a defini-
tial proportion of speech patterns generated tion of hortative constructions.
by man and are instrumental in regulating Hortative constructions are constructions
joint activities in society. They are designed conveying the idea of direct speech causa-