Q02_Final polar Q-marker

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This property has the value 'yes' when neutral, information-seeking, direct polar questions (yes/no-questions) are marked by a clause-final Q(uestion)-marker.

The Q-marker can be a free particle, a clitic or a bound morpheme.

The property value is 'no' in all other cases (that is (i) the Q-marker is not final, or (ii) there are no polar Q-markers).

A 'yes' value for this property is compatible with a 'yes' value for other expressions of polar questions.

A polar question is 'neutral and information-seeking' if:

  1. it can be answered by an expression meaning 'yes' or 'no',
  2. it expects an answer, but has little or no expectation of whether the answer will be 'yes' or 'no',
  3. it does not have narrow focus on a particular constituent.

The following are examples of questions that are not neutral, not information seeking and not direct: (why?)

  • Don't you speak French?
  • (in disapproval) Are you crazy?
  • It's cold in here, isn't it?
  • Was it last year that you two met?
  • I wonder if this is the right way.



  1. English is 'no' for this property. While a 'tag' like 'right' may be added to a declarative sentence in order to seek confirmation for a positive or negative proposition, this does not qualify as a final polar Q-marker, since the resulting question is not a neutral information-seeking question:
    • John is coming, right?
      Note also that the tag is preceded by an obligatory prosodic break and is not integrated into the clause)
    • Comment: Final question intonation should not yield a 'yes' value: we exclude question intonation/tones as instantiating Q-markers.
  2. Malayalam has the value 'yes' for this property, since neutral information-seeking polar questions are marked by the final Q- marker "-oo":
Contributed by: Anders Holmberg and Craig Sailor
Language Value Contributor Comments
+ =Hoan Yes Chris Collins
  Words: ʘ’ú ’a ’ám ǀqhǔi-qà yà
  Gloss: duiker PROG eat grass-PL Q
  Translation: “Is the duiker eating grass?” (Collins and Gruber: 211).
  Comment: “To form a yes-no question, the question particle yà is added at the end of the sentence” (Collins and Gruber: 211). The examples are from the grammar by Collins, Chris and Gruber, Jeff. 2012. A Grammar of ǂHȍã.
  Contributor: Hannah Kim
   Afrikaans No Theresa Biberauer
+ Agni indénié Yes Amoikon Dyhié ASSANVO
  Words: kófí bá kɛ̀
  Gloss: Koffi venir Q
  Translation: Koffi vient-il ?
  Comment: Le morphème interrogatif a deux positions, selon qu’il exprime une interrogation directe [ásʋ̀] ou une interrogation guidée [kɛ̀]. Dans une interrogation guidée, en revanche, la réponse est sue d’avance par locuteur-interlocuteur ou, il peut aussi s’agit d’un compromis. Dans les deux cas, la réponse est « oui » ou « non ».
  Contributor: Amoikon Dyhié ASSANVO
+ Albanian No Dalina Kallulli
  Comment: Only Gheg but not Standard Albanian allows for a final polar Q-marker.
  Contributor: Dalina Kallulli
   American Sign Language Yes Natasha Abner
+ Amharic Yes Girma Demeke
  Words: kasa astämari näw wäy
  Gloss: K. teacher be.3ms Q
  Translation: 'Is Kasa a teacher?'
  Contributor: Girma Demeke
   Ancient Greek No Richard Faure
   Arabic, Gulf No Dimitrios Ntelitheos
   Armenian (Eastern) No Sona Haroutyunian
   Bafut No Pius Tamanji
   Bambara Yes Hilda Koopman
   Bandial Yes Wolfgang Berndt
   Bardi No Claire Bowern
+ Basaa Yes Paul Roger Bassong
  Words: mudaá a-n-lɑ́mb kón *(ɛ́)
  Gloss: woman SM-PST1-cook rice Q
  Translation: ‘Has the woman cook rice?’
  Comment: The following sentence shows that the final particle must appear in yes/no even in the absence of an initial marker
  Contributor: Paul Roger Bassong
   Brazilian Portuguese No Ananda Lima
   Burmese Yes Timothy Ho
   Calabrian (Northern) No Giuseppina Silvestri
+ Cantonese (Guangzhou) Yes Zixian Qiu
  Words: nei faan-zo lei me?
  Gloss: you return-PFV come Q
  Translation: (How come/Is that) you come back?
  Comment: In Cantonese, there are several sentence final particles that can type the sentence as a question. They denote various communicative functions and convey the attitude and emotion of the speaker. Some of them can be applied to all kinds of questions, while some of them are specifically related to some interrogative question constructions. For example, “me” can only occur in yes/no questions, and “a” can only mark a question when it is accompanied by other interrogative question constructions
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
  Comment: For example, “me” can only occur in yes/no questions, and “a” can only mark a question when it is accompanied by other interrogative question constructions such as “A-not-A” constructions, copula questions and wh-questions. Reference: Stephen,Matthews and Yip, Virginia. 1994. Cantonese: A comprehensive grammar. Routledge, 2013. chapter 18.3.1
  Contributor: Zixian Qiu
   Catalan No Victoria Mateu
   Chickasaw Yes Pam Munro
   Cypriot Greek No Marios Andreou
+ Czech No Pavel Caha
  Words: Jí Petr polívku?
  Gloss: eats Peter soup?
  Translation: Does Peter eat soup? Is Peter eating the soup?
  Comment: The sentence has a raising intonation at the end. Since such marking does not count as a bound morpheme, the answer to the parameter is NO.
  Contributor: Pavel Caha
   Danish No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Dholuo No Hilda Koopman
   Dutch No Hilda Koopman
   English No Craig Sailor
   English (Singapore) Yes Adam Chong
   Faroese No Hjalmar Páll Petersen
   Finnish No Anders Holmberg
   French No Vincent Homer
   Ga Yes Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
   galician No Naír García
   Garifuna No Pam Munro
   georgian No Lea Nash
   German No Viola Schmitt
   Gothic No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Greek No Giorgos Spathas
  Words: E-fta-se o Janis s-to stathm-o?
  Gloss: PST-arrive-PST.3.SG the.NOM.SG John to-ACC.SG station-ACC.SG
  Translation: 'Has John arrived at the station?'
  Comment: Greek allows both SV and VS orders. Polar questions always involve V- or Aux-fronting and special intonation.
  Contributor: Giorgos Spathas
+ Greek (Cappadocian) Yes Petros Karatsareas
  Words: da koritʃça pulses=ta mi (Dawkins 1916: 378)
  Gloss: ART.DEF.PL.ACC girl.PL.ACC sell.PST.2SG=3PL.ACC Q
  Translation: did you sell the girls?
  Contributor: Petros Karatsareas
   Greek (Homer) No Chiara Bozzone
   Greek (Medieval) No Io Manolessou
   Guébie No Hannah Sande
+ Gungbe (Porto-Novo) Yes Enoch Oladé Aboh
  Words: àsíbá wá  ̀
  Gloss: asiba came Q
  Translation: Did Asiwa come
  Comment: Yes-no questions are marked by low tone
  Contributor: Enoch Oladé Aboh
   Haitian No Michel DeGraff
+ Hausa Yes Russell Schuh
  Words: Decl: zaa tà fìta; Question: zaa tà fìtaà?
  Translation: "she will go out. Will she go out?"
  Comment: Appended low tone and lengthening of final vowel (Newman & Newman 1981)
  Contributor: Russell Schuh
   Hebrew No Ur Shlonsky
   Hebrew (Biblical) No Massimo Gargiulo
   Hindi Yes Anoop Mahajan
   Hungarian No Anna Szabolcsi
   Ibibio No Willie Willie
   Icelandic No Jim Wood
   Igbo No Mary Amaechi
   Iha Yes Mark Donohue
   Ijo (Kaiama) Yes Hilda Koopman
   imbabura quichua Yes UCLA Linguistics 210 Suffix -chu in almost all questions, may follow verb or narrow focus phrase.
   Indonesian No Mark Donohue
   Italian No Adriana Belletti
   Italian (Napoletano Antico) No Adam Ledgeway
   Italian (Reggiano) No Giovanni Roversi
   Jamaican Creole English No Stephanie Durrleman
   Japanese Yes Jun Yashima
   K'iche' No Pam Munro
   Kashaya Yes John Gluckman
   Kinande Yes Patricia Schneider-Zioga and Philip Mutaka
+ Kom Yes Richard Kwamong
  Words: Jòyn n-kó`ng ndòng a ?
  Gloss: John prog- love potato foc/Q.
  Translation: Does John love potato?
  Comment: The interrogative marker in Kom is the focus marker which can occur at the beginning or end of a word.
  Contributor: Richard Kwamong
+ Korean Yes Grace Lee
  Words: pay kophu.ni?
  Gloss: Hungry.Q?
  Translation: Are you hungry?
  Comment: 배고프니?
  Contributor: Grace Lee
   Koyo Yes Hilda Koopman
   Kuot No Eva Lindström
   Kurdish (Sorani) No Yadgar Karimi
   Kusunda No Mark Donohue
   Laal Yes Florian Lionnet
   Lango No Arwa Rangwala
   Lao Yes Alif Silpachai
   Latin No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Latin (Late) No Chiara Gianollo
   Lithuanian No Felix Thies
   Maasai (Kisongo) No Hilda Koopman
   Mada Yes Bebey Théodore
   Malagasy No Ed Keenan and Laura Kalin
   Malayalam Yes Mythili Menon
   Mandarin Yes Arthur Wang
   Marshallese No Heather Willson Sturman
   Moroccan Arabic No Arwa Rangwala
+ Muyang Yes Bebey Théodore
  Words:  Lawan ó zúm ɗaf waw
  Gloss: Lawan 3SG eat foot Q
  Translation: Does Lawan eat food?
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
  Words: Lawan ó zúm ɗaf do waw
  Gloss: Lawan 3SG east food NEG Q
  Translation: Doesn't Lawan eat food
  Contributor: Bebey Théodore
   Nahuatl (Central Huasteca) No John Garcia
   Nepali Yes Mark Donohue
   Nkore-Kiga No Hilda Koopman
   Northern Thai Yes Alif Silpachai
   Norwegian No Marit Julien
+ Nupe Yes Jason Kandybowicz
  Words: Musa gi bise ko
  Gloss: Musa eat hen Q
  Translation: Did Musa eat the hen?
  Comment: In addition to using the sentence final particle 'ko', it is possible to achieve a polar question by lengthening the final vowel of the sentence. Thus, an alternative way to ask the question above would be: 'Musa gi bise:' (where the nucleus of the final syllable [se] is lengthened)
  Contributor: Jason Kandybowicz
   Nweh Yes Hilda Koopman All data for questions come from chapter 6 'Interrogatoves' of Michael Nkemnji's 1996 UCLA PhD dissertation: Heavy pied-piping in Nweh.
   Old English No ---
   Old French No Heather Burnett
   Old Norse No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Old Saxon No George Walkden
   Oluwanga (Eji) No Ceciliane Odangah
   panjabi No Gurprit Bains
   Pashto No David Pate
   Polish No Barbara Tomaszewicz
   Portuguese No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Q'anjob'al No Kathleen O'Flynn
   Romanian No Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian No Denis Paperno
   Samoan No Hilda Koopman
   San Dionisio Ocotepec Zapotec No George Aaron Broadwell
   Sandawe Yes Helen Eaton
   Sasak Yes Nur Ahmadi and Eli Asikin-Garmager
   Shan Yes Alif Silpachai
   Shupamem Yes Abdoulaye Laziz Nchare
+ Sicilian No Cristina Guardiano
  Words: * Màrju arrwàu ki?
  Gloss: Mario arrived what
  Translation: Has Mario arrived?
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Skou No Mark Donohue
   Spanish No Victoria Mateu
   Swedish No fredrik heinat
   Tagalog No Edith Aldridge
   Taiwanese Southern Min Yes Arthur Wang
+ Teramano No Iara Mantenuto
  Words: *a kutʃinitə Lenə ke
  Gloss: has cooked Elena what
  Translation: Did Elena cook?
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Thai Yes Alif Silpachai
+ Tommo-So Yes Laura McPherson
  Words: Ííyé [dìgɛ̀L nàmL] yɛ́llɛ̀=ma.
  Gloss: today evening sun come.IMPF=or?
  Translation: ‘Will he come this evening?’ (414: 770b).
  Comment: “place the question/disjunctive clitic =ma at the end of a sentence, which literally means ‘or’. This is a logical particle to use, since a yes/no question essential asks if the statement is true or is it not true; it is questioning by omission (‘is it true or...?’). As before, I gloss =ma as ‘or?’ indicating its double status as a disjunction and question marker” (415). From A Grammar of Tommo So by Laura Mcpherson (2012).
  Contributor: Hannah Kim
+ Triqui, Copala Yes George Aaron Broadwell
  Words: Ca-nica̱j so̱' ca-'a̱nj so̱' ná'?
  Gloss: pot-turn 2s pot-go 2s q
  Translation: Will you turn around and go?
  Contributor: George Aaron Broadwell
   Tukang Besi Yes Mark Donohue
+ Tuki (Tukombo) Yes Edmond Biloa
  Words: o-mu-suwa tsono roo aa
  Gloss: you wash clothes your Q
  Translation: Did you wash your clothes?
  Comment: Can also cooccur with initial questional particle yEE.
  Contributor: Edmond Biloa
   Tupi (Ancient) No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish No Deniz Ozyildiz
+ Twi Yes Cansada Martin
  Words: Kofi twaa brodo no ana?
  Gloss: Kofi cut.PST bread DET Q
  Translation: Did Kofi cut the bread?
  Comment: Question
  Contributor: Cansada Martin
  Words: Kofi twaa brodo no.
  Gloss: Kofi cut.PST bread DET
  Translation: Kofi cut the bread.
  Comment: Declarative Sentence
  Contributor: Cansada Martin
+ Vata Yes Hilda Koopman
  Words: `n le saká-a
  Gloss: 2S eat.IMP rice-Q
  Translation: Do you eat rice?
  Comment: Question particle is a mid high tone. (tones to be added)
  Contributor: Hilda Koopman
+ Vietnamese Yes Binh Ngo
  Words: Nam học lớp này phải không?
  Gloss: Nam study class this Q
  Translation: "Is Nam taking this class?"
  Contributor: Binh Ngo
  Words: Nam học lớp này hả?
  Gloss: Nam study class this Q?
  Translation: "Is Nam taking this class?"
  Comment: This is used in very informal contexts.
  Contributor: Binh Ngo
   Warlpiri No Margit Bowler
   West Flemish No Liliane Haegeman
   Western Armenian Yes Hrayr Khanjian
   Wolof Yes Mariame Sy
   Wuhu Chinese Yes Zhuo Chen
   Xhosa Yes Xiujie Ma
   Yémba Yes Elsie Mawamba
   Yan-nhaŋu No Claire Bowern
   Zamboageño Chabacano No Grace Gaspardo
   Zulu Yes Claire Halpert