Journal directory listing - Volume 31-41 (1986-1996) - Volume 41 (1996)

Interrogative Constructions in Mayrinax Atayal Author: Lillian M. Huang(Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University)


The present paper attempts to investigate the interrogative constructions in Atayal, an Austronesian language spoken in Taiwan which consists of two major subgroups: Squliq and Culi. The dialectal variant examined here is that of Mayrinax, a Culi dialect spoken in Chinshui Village, Taian Hsiang, Miaoli Prefecture. In Mayrinax, the yes-no questions are formed with their corresponding statements and the question parti-cle quw, without changing the intonation pattern. The alternative questions are charac-terized by the presence of both the question particle quw and the Topic marker Ya. Yet the structures of alternative questions vary; they can either be nominal/equational or verbal/non-equational sentences. As for special questions (or so-called wh-questions) in Mayrinax Atayal, there are two kinds of construction, namely, nominal/equational and verbal/non-equational. Concerning the wh-words appearing hi special questions, they can be categorized into three types: (i) interrogative nouns like ima 'who', nanuwan/nanu 'what', ainu 'which' and humicuwa 'what kind' (i.e. wh-words manifesting participants and functioning as pronouns/nouns which can be preceded by case markers, and thus can be further catergorized into common and per-sonal proper nouns); (ii) interrogative verbs like humicuwa 'how', micuwa 'why', hanu an 'why' and piya 'how many; how much' (i.e. wh-words functioning as verbs which can be affixed with focus and/or tense/aspect markers, or partially reduplicated); and (iii) interrogative adverbs like humicuwa 'when', kanuwan 'when', makapia 'how often' and inu 'where' (i.e. wh-words designating adjuncts and functioning as ad-verbs).

Keywords:Austronesian, Atayal, Mayrinax, interrogative, yes-no, alternative, information

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