LINGUIST List 14.1682

Fri Jun 13 2003

Qs: Basque Particle; Genetic Lang Classification

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  1. oborzdyk, Question about Basque particle 'ba' and its equivalents (re: Laka (1994))
  2. Marie Klopfenstein, Bibliography on Language Classification

Message 1: Question about Basque particle 'ba' and its equivalents (re: Laka (1994))

Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 13:39:06 -0400
From: oborzdyk <>
Subject: Question about Basque particle 'ba' and its equivalents (re: Laka (1994))

Dear all:

I have a question for you about the particle 'ba/bai' in Basque and its 
possible equivalents in other languages.

In chapter 2, Laka (1994) discusses the English particle 'so' and the
Basque particle 'ba/bai', a third element of SigmaP. She states that
both 'ba/bai' and 'so' have a meaning of denial of negation(1c).

(1)	A: Peter left early.
	B: Peter didn't leave early.
	C: Peter did SO leave early.

Plus, in a note, Laka says that 'ba/bai' has a meaning of 'yes'. It
seems to us that 'so' can have such a meaning too as in 'It is so

My question for you is:

1) For those of you who speak Basque: I wonder if 'ba/bai', in
addition to its uses already discussed, is used in some of the
contexts named below. If so, could you provide me with examples for
each possible use?

- as an item with a demonstrative meaning ('such', 'so')
- in hypothetical constructions ('if... then...') 
- in disjunctive constructions 
- in questions (direct or indirect)
- as an item with indefinite meaning 
- part of indefinite pronouns ('some-one')
- some other contexts (?) 

2) For those of you who speak languages other than Basque, English,
French or Russian: Do you know of any particles that would behave
similarly to Basque 'ba' and English 'so' and would appear
in some of the contexts given above?

The reason that I'm asking for this specific information is because in
my research I compare the French particle 'si' and the Bielorussian
particle 'tsi' to the uses of 'so' and 'ba', and I see that often they
are parallel. However, 'si' and 'tsi' are not limited to just
negation of negation and affirmation. They also function in a number
of contexts mentioned above. Therefore, I would like to find more
information about Basque 'ba' to see if in its other possible uses it
goes in parallel with French 'si' and Bielorussian 'tsi'. And it would
be good to know if some other particles, similar to 'ba', 'so', 'si'
and 'tsi', exist in other languages.

Thank you very much for all your comments and help in advance!


Oxana Borzdyko
Ph.D. student
UWO, Canada

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Message 2: Bibliography on Language Classification

Date: Thu, 12 Jun 2003 21:56:45 +0000
From: Marie Klopfenstein <>
Subject: Bibliography on Language Classification

Dear Linguists,

I am putting together a bibliography on genetic classification and
areal linguistics. My starting point is M. Ruhlen's A Guide To The
World's Languages, but I would appreciate any suggestions of more
recent books of articles. If you specialize in a specific language
family, I would also appreciate suggestions on work that I should not
overlook. I am trying to include all proposed genetic/areal
classifications, including Nostratic, Amerind, work by Greenberg and
Shevoroshkin, etc.

I would appreciate any ideas you have and I will post a summary. 
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