Interrogative Indefinites in Siouan

Ardis R Eschenberg are2 at
Tue Oct 24 16:07:48 UTC 2000

Dr. Ingham,
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.
Ardis Eschenberg

More information about the Siouan mailing list