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Can any languages distinguish "yes-no or questions" from "choose-an-option
or questions"?

Do you understand my question?

Here an example:

-- Do you want chocolate or strawberry?
-- Yes, I do.

The question here (by my analysis) comes down more to the types of
"or" that a language has/distinguishes between. The "yes/no" type "or"
is "inclusive" (describing the entities listed as collectively, though
not necessarily simultaneously, included; analogous to the symbol ∨ in
mathematical logic notation, I believe). The "choose-an-option" type
"or" is "exclusive" (describing the situation in which one, but not
both, of the entities is included; analogous to the symbol ⊕ in
mathematical logic notation). English actually has the capability of
expressing this distinction using "either...or..." to communicate the
latter (for which reason it is often assumed that the former is meant
when only "or" is used). I am unfamiliar with any (natural) languages
that make a distinction more closely resembling that made in
mathematical logic. Some of my languages do, though.

On Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 8:49 AM, Zach Wellstood <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> On Jan 22, 2016 9:25 AM, "Mark J. Reed" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> Also, many languages have a simple particle to turn a statement into a
>> yes-or-no question, while choose-an-option questions may be constructed in
>> a different manner.  For example, Mandarin 吗 *ma* is only for yes-no
>> questions (unlike Japanese か *ka*, which is also used for other types of
>> questions).
>>
>
> Yes, Mandarin also has two words equivalent to 'or', 还是 hai2shi4 is for
> questions (amongst other things) and 或(者) huo4zhe3 is for non interrogative
> statements.
>
> Ni xiang chi qiaokeli HAISHI caomei?
> You want eat chocolate OR strawberry?
>
> Wo xiang chi qiaokeli HUOZHE caomei.
> I want eat chocolate OR strawberry.
>
> (Actually my grammaticality judgements for huozhe/haishi are iffy because
> they have other meanings and stuff going on...)
>
> Zach
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> On Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 9:00 AM, B. R. George <
>> [log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>> > A number of languages have a word that can only be used for 'or' in
>> > choose-an-option questions but not in yes-or-no questions. Often it's
> still
>> > possible under some circumstances to ask an ambiguous question of this
> kind
>> > under some circumstances, so there's not a perfect clean distinction,
> but
>> > there's still something that does what it sounds like you're looking
> for.
>> >
>> > One well-known example involves the words 'tai' and 'vai' in Finnish.
>> > Something like this also occurs in Egyptian Arabic.
>> >
>> > Here are a few academic papers that include relevant data:
>> >
>> > http://septentrio.uit.no/index.php/nordlyd/article/download/33/32
>> >
>> > http://escholarship.org/uc/item/90q7m4vz
>> >
>> > Cheers,
>> > B
>> >
>> >
>> > On Fri, Jan 22, 2016 at 7:36 AM, Leonardo Castro <[log in to unmask]
>>
>> > wrote:
>> >
>> > > Can any languages distinguish "yes-no or questions" from
>> > "choose-an-option
>> > > or questions"?
>> > >
>> > > Do you understand my question?
>> > >
>> > > Here an example:
>> > >
>> > > -- Do you want chocolate or strawberry?
>> > > -- Yes, I do.
>> > >
>> > > Sorry if there is a widely known linguistic concept for that
> distinction
>> > > that I ignore for not being a linguist. (Some years ago, I told a
> British
>> > > linguist about Tupi-Guarani inclusive-exclusive 1PL distinction,
> thinking
>> > > that I was telling something very unusual and interesting...)
>> > >
>> > > Até mais!
>> > >
>> > > Leonardo
>> > >
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> Mark J. Reed <[log in to unmask]>



-- 
Sincerely,
         William S. Wright