NUSA: Linguistic studies of languages in and around Indonesia. 2018
This paper describes the different grammatical strategies to form polar questions (broadly including yes-no questions and alternative questions) in Javanese, an area that has not been fully documented before. Focusing on the dialect of Javanese spoken in Paciran, Lamongan, East Java, Indonesia, yes-no questions can be formed with intonation, the particles opo, toh and iyo, or by fronting an auxiliary. Yes-no questions with narrow focus in this dialect are achieved via various syntactic positions of the particle toh in contrast to broad focus sentencefinally. Alternative questions are also formed with toh, either conjoining two constituents or with negation as a tag question. Based on these new findings in Paciran Javanese compared with Standard Javanese, the reflex of the alternative question particle is shown to co-vary with the disjunctive marker of that dialect. Additional dialectal variation concerning syntactic restrictions on auxiliary fronting is also discussed. Finally, combinations of these strategies— unexplored in any dialect—are shown to be possible (e.g., auxiliary fronting plus the particle opo) while other combinations are shown to be impossible (e.g., with the particle opo and particle toh in sentence final position). This paper serves as a benchmark for further investigation into dialectal variation across Javanese as well as into the syntax-semantics and syntax-prosody interfaces in deriving different types of yes-no questions.
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