grammaticalization of negatives/interrogatives

Edith Moravcsik edith at UWM.EDU
Wed Mar 9 14:06:37 UTC 2005


As far as I know, the morphemes "my" in Thai, "khong" in Vietnamese, and
"-aa" in Tamil (transcriptions approximate) are both negators and polar
question markers.

The Mandarin Chinese question marker "ma" is said to have historically
derived from a negator. The same is claimed for the Latin polar question
marker "-ne".

Edith Moravcsik

----- Original Message -----
From: "Matti Miestamo" <matmies at LING.HELSINKI.FI>
Sent: Wednesday, March 09, 2005 07:33 AM
Subject: grammaticalization of negatives/interrogatives

> Dear List Members,
> A possible source for polar interrogative markers is the use of negative
> markers as tag questions, and I'd be interested to hear about any
> attested cases of such developments; Heine & Kuteva briefly mention this
> possibility in their World Lexicon of Grammaticalization but do not
> discuss any attested cases (they do discuss the role of negation in the
> A-not-A interrogative construction, but this is not what I'm after).
> I'd also be interested in any other cases of grammaticalization where a
> negative marker has developed into a question marker or vice versa.
> Thanks and best wishes,
> Matti
> --
> Matti Miestamo
> <>

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