[Lingtyp] content question maarker

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Thu Dec 16 11:56:07 UTC 2021

Dear Mohammad,

Malay/Indonesian has some of the things you are searching for.

1.In several varieties of Malay/Indonesian, there is a particle 
(Standard Malay/Indonesian /kah/, Papuan Malay /ka/, Kupang Malay /ko/) 
whose variegated functions include (a) forming a polar question; and (b) 
marking a content question, by cooccuring with a WH word.The latter 
would be an example of double marking of content questions.

2.The verb /coba/, whose basic meaning is 'try', is also commonly used 
as a polite imperative marker, and this latter use is also generalized 
to content questions, where it seems to mean something like "please try 
and answer this question". I believe /coba/ does not occur in polar 
questions (though I would have to double check this).

In principle, the above two strategies should be able to cooccur with a 
WH word to yield what would be triple marking of content 
questions.However I was not able to find any clear cut examples of this 
in our corpus, and I suspect that such triple marking might be precluded 
by the contradictory semantic values of the two forms, the particle 
/kah/ka/ko/ being associated with a basic meaning of uncertainty, while 
/coba/ seeming to maintain its implicit imperative function.But this 
requires further thought ...


On 16/12/2021 09:33, mohammad rasekh wrote:
> Dear all,
> A student of mine while gathering a spoken corpus for a geographical 
> variety of Persian has noticed that this variety is using a fixed form 
> of the verb to see, 'bin-i' (see-2SG) as polar question marker (1) and 
> in content questions (2,3) along with wh-word:
> 1) bin-i         miy-/ād?/
>     see-2SG   come-3SG
> 'Does s/he come?'
> 2) bin-i        koj/ā-st?/
> /     see-2SG     where-be.3SG/
> /    'Where is s/he?'/
> /
> /
> 3) bin-i /ši /šod-e?//
> //    see-2SG      what  become-3SG//
> //   'What happened?'//
> //
> //
> Two questions:
> First: Is there any other language which uses a polar question marker 
> originating from verb?
> Second: Is double marking of content questions attested?
> All the best,
> Mohammad
> Mohammad Rasekh-Mahand
> Linguistics Department,
> Bu-Ali Sina University,
> Hamedan, Iran.
> Postal Code: 6517838695
> https://basu.academia.edu/MohammadRasekhmahand 
> <https://basu.academia.edu/MohammadRasekhmahand>
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David Gil

Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, 04103, Germany

Email:gil at shh.mpg.de
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-526117713
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-81344082091
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