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Polarity particles in English and Romanian

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Abstract

This paper contrasts the distribution and interpretation of &#8216;polarity particles&#8217; in English and Romanian. Polarity particles (<i>yes, no</i> in English, <i>da, nu, ba</i> in Romanian) occur at the left edge of utterances that react to assertions, polar questions and imperatives but cannot be used in &#8216;out of the blue&#8217; contexts. The paper makes sense of this distribution as well as of the contrasts between the two languages against the background of a context structure proposed in earlier work, which allows us to understand in what sense assertions, polar questions and imperatives form a natural class. Of particular interest here are cases where both <i>yes</i> and <i>no</i> can be used in otherwise identical responses in English as well as the distribution of these particles in reactions to imperatives.

References

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