[Lingtyp] undifferentiated interrogative words

Hiroto Uchihara uchihara at buffalo.edu
Sat Aug 15 01:47:57 UTC 2020

Dear Peter,

I'm not sure if this is something you are looking for, but In Oklahoma
Cherokee, the interrogative gadò: can mean either 'what', 'why' or 'which',
but with the 'why' meaning the verb has to take (mysteriously) the
iterative prefix (Montgomery-Anderson 2008: 336), while for it to mean
'which' it needs to be accompanied by u":sdi [3SG.B-be.way-NOM/SH]. The
difference between 'what' and 'why' can be seen in the following examples:

1. gadò: à:dv́:ne:
katòò 0-atvv7n-ee(h-a)
what 3SG.A-do-PRS-IND
'What is he doing?'

2. gadò: i:gáwo:híli:yv
katòò ii-k-awoohil7iiyv-(7-a)
what ITER-3SG.A-reply-PRS-IND
'Why is he answering?'

Other interrogatives have different forms: ha:dla 'where', hila̋ 'how
many', hilâ:yv̋:7i 'when', gá:go 'who'.  I hope this helps!

Best regards,

Montgomery-Anderson, Brad. 2008. A reference grammar of Oklahoma Cherokee.
Ph.D. diss., U. of Kansas

El vie., 14 de ago. de 2020 a la(s) 20:26, Peter Arkadiev (
peterarkadiev at yandex.ru) escribió:

> Dear typologists,
> as is well-known, there are many languages lacking a distinction between
> "animate" and "inanimate" interrogative words (see the doctoral
> dissertation by Dmitry Idiatov), e.g. Lithuanian "kas" means both 'who' and
> 'what'. I am wondering if there are any languages where interrogative words
> don't distinguish between such ontological categories as "place", "time"
> and "manner", e.g. have a single interrogative word which, depending on the
> context, can mean "when", "where", "how" and the like.
> Many thanks in advance and best regards,
> Peter
> Idiatov, Dmitry. 2007. A Typology of Non-Selective Interrogative
> Pronominals. PhD Dissertation, Universiteit Antwerpen.
> --
> Peter Arkadiev, PhD Hab.
> Institute of Slavic Studies
> Russian Academy of Sciences
> Leninsky prospekt 32-A 119334 Moscow
> peterarkadiev at yandex.ru
> http://inslav.ru/people/arkadev-petr-mihaylovich-peter-arkadiev
> _______________________________________________
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> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
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Dr. Hiroto Uchihara
Seminario de Lenguas Indígenas
Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Circuito Mario de la Cueva
Ciudad Universitaria, 04510, Ciudad de México.
Tel. Seminario:(+52)-(55)-5622-7489
Office: (+52)-(55)-5622-7250, Ext. 49223
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