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Query Details

Query Subject:   Polar interrogatives without auxiliaries
Author:   Bruno Estigarribia
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Subject Language(s):  English

Query:   Hello everyone,

I am currently working on acquisition of yes/no questions in English and I need to look at bibliography on questions in adult (or child) English, in particular acceptable polar interrogatives without auxiliaries (or without inversion), like these adult questions from CHILDES:

W/O aux:
“you watching me?”, “want your book Sarah?”, “you like apple ?” [from CHILDES/BROWN/Sarah006]

''that good ?'' (Int: is that good?)
''you want to eat it right there ?''
''gon (t)a have a bite ?''
''gon (t)a eat it ?''
''gon (t)a go see Jonathon today ?''
''gon (t)a eat the bread too ?''
''we gon (t)a go for a walk today ?''
[from CHILDES/Bates/snack28/amy]

W/O inv:
''you don't want any toast ?'' [from CHILDES/Bates/snack28/amy]

I am looking for bibliography explaining why these forms occur and what their function is. It seems to me a priori that there is no contrast between questions with auxiliaries and auxiliary-less ones, but I haven't performed any detailed analysis. So far, the conditions under which such ''reduced''
interrogatives are acceptable have eluded me, but I am sure a lot of people must have written about it.
On the contrary, questions with uninverted auxiliaries seem to contrast with the inverted ones. There is some sort of ''echoic'' feeling to them, or a metalinguistic or
commentary-like feeling sometimes. Mind you, this is just an impression.

Please reply directly to and I'll post a summary.
Thank you
LL Issue: 15.705
Date posted: 26-Feb-2004


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