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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Inflection and Questioning|
|Question:||What languages do not use vocal inflection to imply a question? I am an ELL teacher and have 22 different languages in my school. East African dialects are common and I wondered if they use inflection to imply they are asking a question? Koren? Vietnamese? Arabic? Tigrina? Omro? Where can I find this out? I can not find any real information on this topic. Thanks, Deanna|
|Reply:||The Jaqi languages of the Andes do not use intonation (cf Stahike's reply) for questions. The languages use sentence suffixes, that is, suffixes that occur on words but that refer to the whole of the sentence, indicating what type of sentence it is. This is a category unknown in the Indo-European languages so for 500 years the suffixes were called 'sufijos de adorno' (adornment suffixes). They have different suffixes for yes/no questions, information questions, rhetorical questions, etc. It is quite a fascinating system. cf the grammars published by Lincom Europa Jaqaru (2000) and Aymara (2002).|
|Reply From:||M J Hardman click here to access email|