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The syntax and morphosyntax of questions in Shinyiha

Devet Goodness


This article examines the syntax and morphosyntax of questions in the Shinyiha language. It surveys the different sentence structures and strategies Shinyiha speakers use in forming questions. It pays special attention to wh-questions, also called i questions in this article, since in Shinyiha all these words contain the suffix -i. The results reveal that in most cases, the wh-word remains in situ in the post-verbal position with questions requiring answers to who, what and which, but is found preverbally (ex situ) with questions requiring adverbial answers. It is noted that although the canonical structure of wh-questions involves wh-words in situ, this structure is not consistent in all questions in Shinyiha, which weakens the assumption that a language either allows the wh-word to be preposed or to remain in situ. Furthermore, the study has revealed that the structure of wh-questions in Shiyiha is affected by focus. It was noted that to show focus, Shinyiha speakers tend to use a relativiser in wh-questions whose answer simply requires a statement with no relative marker. 

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eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117