The grammar of polarity particles in Romanian

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This paper considers the use of the polarity particles da ‘yes’, nu ‘no’ and ba in Romanian reactions to assertions and polar questions against a view of context structure that allows one to capture the essential differences and similarities between assertions and polar questions. The three Romanian polarity particles are connected to two sets of features reactive assertions have, an absolute polarity feature that is identical to the polarity of the sentence the reactive move asserts, and a relative polarity feature that encodes the relation of the reactive assertion and the content of the move it reacts to. The third particle, ba, is analyzed as encoding the information that what is asserted in the reaction is the opposite of the propositional content of the move one is reacting to. The semantic features of polarity particles are syntactically mapped and integrated in the edge properties of clauses.


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