The cartography of yes and no
Liliane Haegeman, Andrew Weir
December 2014

The paper is an in depth study of the response particles 'ja'/'nee' ('yes'/'no') in the Lapscheure dialect of Dutch, focusing on two properties. Firstly, the particles show overt phi-feature marking corresponding to what would be the subject of a response clause (cf. Van Craenenbroeck 2010): "Q: Goa Marie morgent kommen? A: Ja-s/nee-s." 'Q: Is Marie coming tomorrow? A: Yes-3f/no-3f'. Secondly, in 'reversal' answers, the particles bear additional morphology which we term 'reversal schwa': "A: K'een geen tyd. B: Ja-g-e." 'A: I don't have time. B: Yes-2sg-rvrs' (=Yes you do). We develop a cartographic analysis of the above facts, arguing that 'ja/nee' represent TP proforms (Krifka 2013). We analyse the pronominal marking as agreement marking, a reflex of the presence of phi-features which are merged in Fin to satisfy the Subject Criterion, along the lines of Rizzi & Shlonsky 2007, and which drive movement of 'ja/nee' to the left periphery. We argue that this analysis accounts for a number of facts concerning the distribution of these response particles, including the fact that they are incompatible with (most) clausemate material, and the existence of co-occurrence restrictions between the reversal particles, the left-perhiperal discourse particles 'ba', and the 'reversal doet' auxiliary discussed by Van Craenenbroeck (2010).
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002398
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: polarity particles, agreement, finiteness, subjp, west flemish, syntax
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