The syntax of yes and no. By Anders Holmberg. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. 250. ISBN 9780198701859. $99 (Hb). This monograph is a crosslinguistic investigation of the syntax of yes/no questions and their answers. The idea is that answers to these questions, even when they consist of a single word, are derived by ellipsis from a full sentential expression. Because the elided constituent is identical to the constituent in the preceding question, the syntax of answers turns out to be very much the same as the syntax of questions. The discussions and proposals are based on data from 136 languages, out of which a handful (English, Swedish, Finnish, Chinese, Thai, and Welsh) are selected for closer analysis. The languages have been examined in relation to two parameters of variation, namely, if answer particles (as in 1a) or echoed verbs (1b) are used, and how negative questions (2) are answered. Reviewed by Satu Manninen, Lund University (3) Haluavat [IP He teetä] want they want tea (4) Teetä [IP He haluavat ] tea they want tea The idea that even particle answers are derived by ellipsis from a sentential expression may seem less straightforward, and it contradicts the idea
Language – Linguistic Society of America
Published: Mar 20, 2017
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