What about how

Johanna Laakso johanna.laakso at UNIVIE.AC.AT
Tue Mar 22 12:02:23 UTC 2005

Am 21.3.2005 09:55 schrieb "Erdal at EM.UNI-FRANKFURT.DE" unter

> Hallo,
> My experience from Greek, Turkish or Hebrew is that pos, nasIl and eyx 'how'
> (respectively) are used for countering utterances mainly when they include a
> negation (Pos dhen theli!?! / NasIl iste-mi-yo !?! / Eyx lo rotse !?! 'What do
> you mean "he doesn't want" !?!' meaning 'I'm sure he does / will'). This is
> probably because the literal meaning of 'how' is more readily excluded by the
> addressee when the utterance is negative (though rhetorical questions in any
> case have different intonations). Note that this 'how' challenges not only
> propositions but any type of modal utterance as well.
> Marcel
In many European languages (at least) it is obviously possible to use
interrogatives for a pragmatically implied negation -- additional examples
could be Finnish "Mitä vielä!" ("What yet/still!") corresponding to
something like 'Certainly not/Of course not!' or Hungarian "Hol van az már!"
("Where is it now!") for 'It doesn't exist any more'. In these cases, the
interrogative typically appears in a certain syntactic (discourse) context,
perhaps with a typical intonation pattern.

But are there clear criteria to distinguish these from more grammaticalized
cases such as Hungarian dehogy ("but-how") 'certainly not/of course not' and
hogyne ("how-not") 'of course'? Note the one-word spelling; as far as I can
say, these words are not restricted to any certain syntactic contexts or
discourse patterns, and they can very well form an utterance alone.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Johanna Laakso
Universität Wien € Institut für Europäische und Vergleichende Sprach- und
Literaturwissenschaft (EVSL)
Abteilung für Finno-Ugristik
Universitätscampus AAKH, Spitalg. 2-4 Hof 7, A-1090 Wien
Tel. +43 1 4277 43019 | Fax +43 1 4277 9430
johanna.laakso at univie.ac.at | http://homepage.univie.ac.at/Johanna.Laakso/

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