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On 7 November 2016 at 21:10, scotthlad <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Hi Logan,
> Thanks for your perceptive reply.
> You are correct that I could abandon the idea of inversion for questions. I have striven to prevent an English relex and to produce something that is truly a priori. I am not much on auxiliary verbs as we have in English.
> An interrogative particle allows for the adaption of other particles such as one that implies a yes or no answer. Maybe one that implies a reason is expected for an answer. I'm always curious whether there are any natlangs that function like my ideas. Do you know of any languages that do not use inversion for questions?

Oh, there are plenty, even among familiar Indo-European stock! There's
Spanish, the go-to example of a language that just doesn't bother to
mark questions at all. French can use inversion, but largely doesn't,
instead sticking the invariant particle <est-ce que> in front of
statements to turn them into polar questions; historically, that is
derived from a combination of clefting and inversion, which is still
obvious in the spelling. Russian usually gets by not bothering to mark
questions at all, like Spanish, but also has the option of using an
interrogative particle which does double-duty as a topic marker; when
it is used, the focus of the question must be fronted, and the
particle /li/ occurs in second position. Something like that would
probably work fairly well for you, since topicalization is a big deal
anyway; you could just have a particle or clitic that comes after the
topic.

Russian also allows topicalizing verbs in /li/-questions, which it
seems to me would not fit very well into Asirka, based on the little
bit that I have gleaned from your intro, but that's just fine because
you wouldn't want to be relexing Russian anymore than English, I
expect. The inability to directly topicalize verbs could also come in
useful as an excuse to develop some interesting periphrastic
constructions, such that something like "Did John *eat* the cake?"
(focusing on whether he ate, as opposed to, I don't know, throwing on
the floor, without questioning the involvement of cake) would come out
something like

Eating.acc-Q did John.nom cake.dat "Was eating done by him to the cake?"

(Presuming of course that you have a dative case; substitute
appropriate adpositions or valency-increasing mechanisms as needed.)

-l.