Basque speakers wanted!

David Gil gil at EVA.MPG.DE
Wed Nov 18 17:20:11 UTC 1998

I'm looking for native speakers of Basque to clarify a simple point.

A few days ago I posted a query titled "Knock! Knock! Who's there?",
asking how people answer the door in various languages.  I have already
received lots of interesting responses, including some for Basque.
Unfortunately, the Basque data that I have received are conflicting.  So
I would be grateful if some native speakers of Basque could provide me
with their answers to the query.  (Please answer me directly; I will
post a summary in a few days time.)

I have appended the query again, at the end of this message.




The query:

Imagine you're at home, and somebody knocks on the door.  What do you
call out?

In English, two common responses are:

(1) Who's there?
(2) Who it is?

Similarly, in Indonesian, you can respond:

(3) Siapa disana?
    who there
(4)  Siapa itu?
    who that

BUT, and this is what I'm interested in, in Indonesian you can ALSO
respond simply with the bare interrogative:

(5) Siapa?

My question (a simple yes/know question) is:

In Basque, is it possible to respond with the bare
interrogative form, as in Indonesian (5)?  (Ie. without any additional
locative, demonstrative or copula.)

Just a YES or a NO would be fine.

Although I'm very eager to find examples of languages for which the
answer is YES, I would also greatly appreciate a lot of NO answers,
which will enable me to find out how rare the construction is, and
hopefully what its typological correlates are.

(Note:  Presumably, all languages can do it with a complex construction,

with a locative and/or demonstrative and/or copula, as in (1) - (4).
This I'm not interested in.  All I'd like to know is whether Basque has
the simple construction as in (5).)


David Gil

Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Inselstrasse 22, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany

Telephone: 44-341-9952310
Fax: 44-341-9952119
Email: gil at

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