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1st Semester 2022/23: Polar questions across languages

Beste Kamali

Polar questions are used in many other contexts than just seeking information on whether p or not p is true. They are employed in various indirectly related functions, and they bring about intuitions of bias, that is, inferences beyond the simple wish to find out whether p or not p is true. Added to that, when we go beyond better studied languages, we find rich polar question paradigms where two or three forms take up usual polar question functions in intriguing patterns.


We will read and discuss papers on polar question meaning in lesser studied languages, develop hypotheses and data elicitation techniques, implement them with guest informants, try to each crosslinguistic generalizations and theoretical analyses thereof.  


An interest in linguistic variation, at least one course in linguistics or semantics


Students are expected to actively join in-class discussions, present a paper (or jointly present two), and submit a final project following either the methodological or the theoretical ramifications of the phenomena to be covered (e.g. fully worked out elicitation materials, an almost functional online elicitation tool, an implementation in Inquisitive Semantics as examples) 



*Bhatt, Rajesh, and Veneeta Dayal. 2020. Polar question particles: Hindi-urdu kya:. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 020-09464-0.

*Farkas, Donka. 2022. Non-Intrusive Questions as a Special Type of Non-Canonical Questions. Journal of Semantics 39(2):295-337.

*Gyuris, Beata. 2016. New perspectives on bias in polar questions: A study of Hungarian -e. International Review of Pragmatics 1–50.

*Jordanoska, Izabela & Erlinde Meertens. 2018. The pragmatic effects of Macedonian li - an empirical study. Berlin: Language Science Press.


*Kamali, Beste. to appear. Motivating a duality of polar question meanings: meaning and clitic placement in Turkish.

*Sudo, Yasutada. 2013. Biased polar questions in English and Japanese. In Beyond expressives: Explorations in use-conditional meaning, ed. Daniel Gutz- mann and Hans-Martin G ̈artner, 275–295. Leiden: Brill.