[Lingtyp] query: declarative 'or' vs. interrogative 'or'

Tianhua Luo tianhualuo at zju.edu.cn
Wed May 24 21:18:46 EDT 2017


Dear all,

Is anybody familiar with languages in which different disjunctions are used in declarative sentences and alternative questions?  I am looking for further languages that employ a distinction between declarative 'or' (either 'or') and interrogative 'or' (whether 'or'). Thanks,Tianhua--In English the same disjunction is used in both declarative sentences and alternative questions. 

(1)  English

    a. I will come this afternoon or tomorrow morning.        b. Will you come today or tomorrow? 

In Mandarin Chinese (and most other Sinitic languages), huozhe ‘or’ is used in declarative sentences and a different disjunction haishi ‘or’ is used in alternative questions. 

(2)  Mandarin Chinese

|

a.

|

wo

|

jintian

|

xiawu

|

huozhe

|

mingtian

|

shangwu

|

lai.

|
|

 

|

1sg

|

today

|

afternoon

|

or

|

tomorrow

|

morning

|

come

|
|

 

|

‘I will come this afternoon or tomorrow morning.’

|


|

b.

|

ni

|

jintian

|

lai

|

haishi

|

mingtian

|

lai?

|
|

 

|

2sg

|

today

|

come

|

or

|

tomorrow

|

come

|
|

 

|

‘Will you come today or tomorrow?’ 

|






--
Tianhua Luo
Department of Chinese
Zhejiang University
Tian Mu Shan Lu 148
310028 Hangzhou 
China 
eMail: tianhualuo at zju.edu.cn
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