Questions in languages at the Horn of Africa

Yvonne Treis (CNRS-LLACAN), Marie-Claude Simeone-Senelle (CNRS-LLACAN) and Joachim Crass (Addis Ababa University) are organising the panel “Interrogativity in languages at the Horn of Africa” at the upcoming 18th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES) in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia, 29 October – 2 November 2012.

The panel intends to discuss the following topics:

  • Question intonation
  • The morphology of verbs in questions
    e.g. interrogative paradigms in Omotic languages
  • Question pronouns
    e.g. their morphological structure, their history, their use in non-interrogative contexts (esp. as indefinite pronouns)
  • The syntax of questions and the marking patterns of different question types
    e.g. direct vs. indirect questions, content questions vs. polar questions, affirmative vs. negative questions
  • The pragmatics of questions
    e.g. questions and politeness

With our panel we would like to address descriptive and theoretical linguists alike; experienced as well as young researchers; phoneticians, morphologists and syntacticians linguists working on Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic, and Nilo-Saharan languages spoken at the Horn of Africa. Papers from a comparative or a dialectological perspective are equally welcome.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is the 15th of March 2012. For details refer to the ICES homepage.

Click here for selected references:

Selected References

  • Azeb Amha 2007. Questioning forms in Zargulla. In: Voigt, Rainer (ed.). From Beyond the Mediterranean: Akten des 7. internationalen Semitohamitistenkongresses, Berlin 13-15 September 2004, pp. 197-210. Aachen: Shaker.
  • Bhat, D. N. S. 2000. The indefinite-interrogative puzzle. Linguistic Typology 4: 365-400.
  • Chisholm, William, Louis T. Milic & John A.C. Greppin (eds.) 1984. Interrogativity. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins.
  • Diessel, Holger 2003. The relation between demonstratives and interrogatives. Studies in Language 27, 3: 635-655.
  • Hagège, Claude 2008. Towards a typology of interrogative verbs. Linguistic Typology 12: 1-44.
  • Haspelmath, Martin 1998. Indefinite pronouns. Oxford: Clarendon.
  • König, Ekkehard & Peter Siemund 2007. Speech act distinctions in grammar. In: Shopen, Timothy (ed.). Language typology and syntactic description. Vol. 1: Clause structure, pp. 276-324. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rialland, Annie 2009. The African lax question prosody: Its realisation and geographical distribution. Lingua 119: 928-949.
  • Siemund, Peter 2001. Interrogative constructions. In: Haspelmath, Martin (ed.). Language typology and language universals: An international handbook. Vol. 2, pp. 1010-1028. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Stivers, T., N.J. Enfield & S.C. Levinson 2010 (eds.). Question-response sequences in conversation across ten languages. Special issue of Journal of Pragmatics 42, 10: 2615-2860.
  • Ultan 1978. Some general characteristics of interrogative systems. In: Greenberg, J.H. 1976. Universals of human language. Vol. 4: Syntax, pp. 211-248. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Copies of the abovementioned references can be made available upon request. Please contact us if you are interested to participate in our panel.

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One Response to Questions in languages at the Horn of Africa

  1. Pingback: Greetings in Baskeet | Basket to Ethiopia

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