Interrogative Indefinites in Siouan
Ardis R Eschenberg
are2 at acsu.buffalo.edu
Tue Oct 24 16:07:48 UTC 2000
Hi. SOrry this has been delayed. Van Valin and La Polla (1997), Syntax:
Structure, meaning, function, pp424-425, explains the difference between
indefinite and wh-readings as a difference in focus. Basically, when the
sometimes wh-word is in the actual focus domain, it receives a wh-reading
while when it is not, it receives the indefinite reading.
To consider this on my own terms, looking at something/what, if I am
asking specifically about the something that you have, I want to know
'what' you have.
This analysis would jive with intonational marking, in that focus is
commonly marked intonationally.
BTW, I didn't mean to imply that 'shte' is needed to mark indefinites in
Omaha, only that quite commonly it is used for these when elders give
sentences for us.
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