Motivating polar and focal alternatives in polar questions in broad focus
Beste Kamali
October 2020

Turkish expresses two distinct plain polar question meanings based on two attachment options of the polar question clitic. The two forms are both neutral interrogatives felicitous in broad focus, and distinct from other question forms. One placement option comes with a cluster of properties including concealed negation and illocutionary force, and the other with positive evidential bias and default main stress. I show that this duality of primary polar question meanings is due to the presence of either polar {φ, ¬φ} or projective focal {φ, ψ, π ...} alternatives in the denotation of each of the options. The two meanings arise due to different syntactic outputs, which map to different clitic placement post-syntactically. A singleton-set analysis of polar question meaning such as those by Biezma and Rawlins 2012 and Krifka 2015 can account for the focal reading when amended by focus projection Selkirk 1995. Not predicted by these accounts, broad focus polar alternatives also need to be part of the grammar. The duality makes predictions connecting the kind of the underlying alternatives to negation, bias, and further nuances evident in usage restrictions.
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Reference: lingbuzz/005477
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keywords: polar questions, turkish, alternatives, bias, clitic placement, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology
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