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

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
Thu May 25 04:29:06 EDT 2017


The passage below is an excerpt from my 2007 article on coordination. 
There is subsequent work by Caterina Mauri on the typology of 
disjunctive coordination that probably addresses this issue in more detail.

Best,
Martin

*********************

9780521581578c01a.tex

The distinction between *standard* and *interrogative disjunction* 
cannot be reduced to the occurrence in declarative vs interrogative 
clauses, because standard disjunction may occur in questions as well. 
This is illustrated by (a,b) from Basque (Saltarelli 1988: 84).

a. Te-a ala kafe-a nahi duzu
     tea-art or coffee-art want you.it
     ‘Do you want tea, or coffee?’ (= ‘Do you want tea or do you want 
coffee?’)

b. Te-a edo kafe-a nahi duzu?
     tea-art or coffee-art want you.it
     ‘Do you want tea or coffee?’ (= ‘Do you want either tea or coffee?’)

9780521581578c01a.tex

On 25.05.17 08:33, Hannu Tommola wrote:
>
> Dear Tianhua,
>
> in Finnish the distinction is made, _tai_ in declarative, and _vai_ in 
> interrogative sentences:
>
> ​a. (minä) tule-n       (tänään) iltapäivä-llä           tai 
> huomen+aamu-lla.
> ​    1sg    come-1sg  today     afternoon-adess   or 
> tomorrow+morning-adess
>
>    'I will come this afternoon or tomorrow morning'
>
> ​b. Tule-t-ko                  tänään vai huomenna?
> ​    come-2sg-INTERR  today   or  tomorrow
>
>     ‘Will you come today or tomorrow?’
>
> ​Best,
>
> Hannu
>
>
> Quoting Tianhua Luo <tianhualuo at zju.edu.cn 
> <mailto:tianhualuo at zju.edu.cn>>:
>
>> 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 <mailto:tianhualuo at zju.edu.cn>
> Hannu Tommola
> Professor emer. of Russian Language (Translation Theory and Practice)
> School of Language, Translation and Literary Studies
> FIN-33014 University of Tampere, Finland
>
>
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-- 
Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
Kahlaische Strasse 10	
D-07745 Jena
&
Leipzig University
IPF 141199
Nikolaistrasse 6-10
D-04109 Leipzig





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