The syntax of yes and no

Anders Holmberg anders.holmberg at NEWCASTLE.AC.UK
Tue Nov 8 16:45:14 UTC 2011

Dear All,
I'm doing an investigation of the syntax of answers to yes/no questions:  How do you say yes and no when answering  neutral and leading questions in the languages of the world, and what is the syntactic analysis of these expressions? Those are the two questions I'm interested in.  The investigation therefore has two parts: One is a broad typological investigation focusing on some of the variation exhibited by such expressions in the languages of the world.  The other part is a more detailed investigation of a small set of languages. 
  For the first part, me and my research assistant Alex Leung have devised a questionnaire. It's filled out online (using Kwiksurveys). It's a short questionnaire, which shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes to fill out. It involves translating and glossing four similar sentences (or, you could say, four versions of the same sentence): a positive declarative, a negative declarative, a neutral yes/no question and a negative yes/no question, and providing positive and negative answers to the questions. I need data from as many different languages as possible, and I completely rely on your help.  Descriptive grammars very often don't  include this information, at least not with sufficient precision, so I am highly dependent on data collected by questionnaire. You don't have to be a native speaker of the language, if you speak the language well or if you have access to a reliable informant. You do need to be somewhat familiar with linguistics, including basic conventions of glossing, so the questionnaire can't be sent around indiscriminately. 
  The online questionnaire can be found at  .
	You can read more about my project at  .
It's  funded by a fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust. The results of the questionnaire will be made available on the project website.  Your name will be acknowledged in published work based on the questionnaire, unless you prefer to remain anonymous.  Kwiksurveys is freeware, so you have to put up with advertisements. I hope you won't find them too irritating.

Thanks for your attention, and (hopefully) for your help with this questionnaire,

Anders Holmberg
Newcastle University

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