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Ask-A-Linguist Message Details
|Subject:||Inflection and Questioning|
|Question:||What languages do not use vocal inflection to imply a question? I am an ELL teacher and have 22 different languages in my school. East African dialects are common and I wondered if they use inflection to imply they are asking a question? Koren? Vietnamese? Arabic? Tigrina? Omro? Where can I find this out? I can not find any real information on this topic. Thanks, Deanna|
|Reply:||It has been suggested that using a rising intonation to signal uncertainty, submission, and general unthreateningness is widespread among primates, including humans, so this kind of intonation can often suggest that you are asking something, or want someone to do something. The meaning of a rising intonation can be complex, and then definition of 'question' isn't straightforward. Most languages have grammatical ways of signalling interrogatives, which vary greatly from one language to another. Anthea|
|Reply From:||Anthea Fraser Gupta click here to access email|