Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1810-7478
  • E-ISSN: 2589-5230
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This paper reexamines the conventional classification of questions in the Formosan language Paiwan: polar, disjunctive, and -questions and seeks to rectify some previous observations and offer a more insightful taxonomy. Specifically, we support the position in Egli (1990) and Huang et al. (1999) and demonstrate that polar questions are formed by a rising intonation alone and that the putative polar question particles () , () , and are in fact polar question tags, while and are non-interrogative interjection particles. There are thus no morphosyntactically formed polar questions in Paiwan. Crucially, questions formed with the sentence-initial and its variants , and are disjunctive questions, not polar questions. We argue that , previously seen as a disjunctive interrogative conjunction, is actually an emphatic adverbial instead, meaning ‘in the end,’ which can thus appear in all types of questions and declaratives. Disjunctive questions, in either A--B or A--A form, can also be formed with a silent disjunctive interrogative conjunction. Finally, we demonstrate that disjunctive and -questions share fundamental properties and should be recognized as two subcategories of constituent questions, as opposed to polar questions. A two-way distinction is thus obtained for questions in Paiwan.


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