Q12_Affirmative answer by particle and verb

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This property has the value 'yes' when a (near-)minimal affirmative answer to a neutral, information-seeking, direct polar question containing a single verb can consist of just an affirmative particle and a verb, in that order, where the two form a single intonation unit, i.e. there is no intonational break ('comma break') between them.


  1. English has the value 'no' for this property:
    • Question: Did your brother go to Paris?
    • Answer: *Yes went.
  2. Tamil has the value 'yes' for this property. A possible (and preferred) form of answer to a neutral, information-seeking polar question with a single verb is affirmative particle plus verb:
    • Question: un anna Paris-ku poonaan-aa
        your brother Paris-to go-PST-Q
        "Did your brother go to Paris?"
      Answer: aa poonaan    
        yes went    
        "Yes." (lit. "Yes went.")
  3. Thai has the value 'no' for this property, because if an affirmative particle is combined with a bare verb in an affirmative reply, there is a comma break between the particle and the verb:
    • Question: Nát khàp rót ru
        Nath drive car Q
        "Does Nath drive?"
      Answer: khà, khàp    
        PRT, drive    
        "Yes, he does." (lit. "Yes, drive.")
Contributed by: Anders Holmberg
Language Value Contributor Comments
   =Hoan No Chris Collins
   Afrikaans No Theresa Biberauer
+ Albanian Yes Dalina Kallulli
  Words: Erdhi Ana? A: Ka erdhi.
  Gloss: Q: came-3SG Ann-the(NOM) A: yes, came-3SG.
  Translation: Q: Did Ann come? A: Yes, she did (come).
  Contributor: Dalina Kallulli
   American Sign Language Yes Natasha Abner
+ Amharic Yes Girma Demeke
  Words: A. kasa astämari näw? B. awo näw
  Gloss: K. teacher be.3ms yes be.3ms
  Translation: A. 'Is Kasa a teacher? B. 'yes he is'
  Contributor: Girma Demeke
   Ancient Greek Yes Richard Faure
+ Arabic, Gulf Yes Dimitrios Ntelitheos
  Words: rah Ahmed al-haflah? heh rah
  Gloss: go.PST Ahmed DET-party? yes go.PST
  Translation: did Ahmed go to the party? yes he did
  Contributor: Shaikha Saeed
   Armenian (Eastern) Yes Sona Haroutyunian
   Bafut No Pius Tamanji
   Bambara No Hilda Koopman
   Bandial Yes Wolfgang Berndt
+ Basaa No Paul Roger Bassong
  Words: Q: (ɓàá) mudaá a-n-lɑ́mb *(ɛ́) A: ntǐɣ proᵢ aᵢ-n-lɑ́mb A: ŋ̀ŋ́ proᵢ aᵢ-n-lɑ́mb
  Gloss: Q: Q woman SM-PST1-cook Q A: yes pro SM- PST1-cook A: yes pro SM- PST1-cook
  Translation: Q: ‘Has the woman cooked rice?’ A: ‘Lit. Yes she has cooked’ A: ‘Lit. Yes she has cooked’
  Comment: This property seems to be ‘yes’ if we consider the subject marker as part of the verb. In other words, since the Basa’a verbal morphology is complex due to the morphological richness it exhibits, it is possible to say that property Q12 is applicable. In this case we obtain a pro-drop construction as can be seen here.
  Contributor: Paul Roger Bassong
   Burmese Yes Timothy Ho
   Calabrian (Northern) No Giuseppina Silvestri
   Cantonese (Guangzhou) No Zixian Qiu
+ Catalan No Victoria Mateu
  Comment: An intonational break is needed between the particle and the verb, e.g. ‘Puges? - Sí, pujo.’(‘Are you going up? – Yes, I am’).
  Contributor: Victoria Mateu
   Chickasaw Yes Pam Munro
   Cypriot Greek No Marios Andreou
   Czech No Pavel Caha
   Danish No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Dholuo Yes Hilda Koopman
   Dutch No Hilda Koopman
   English No Craig Sailor
   English (Singapore) No Adam Chong
   Faroese No Hjalmar Páll Petersen
+ Finnish Yes Anders Holmberg
  Words: Tuli-ko Anna? Kyllä tuli.
  Gloss: came-Q Anna? yes came
  Translation: Did Anna come? Yes she did.
  Comment: kyllä has other meanings/uses, as well : indeed, certainly, actually
  Contributor: Anders Holmberg
   French No Vincent Homer
   Ga No Mary Esther Kropp Dakubu
   galician No Naír García
   Garifuna Yes Pam Munro
   georgian Yes Lea Nash
   German No Viola Schmitt
   Gothic No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
+ Greek No Giorgos Spathas
  Words: Q: Pij-e o Janis s-to parti? A: Ne, pije.
  Gloss: Q: went-PST.3.SG the.NOM.SG John to-the.ACC.SG party A: Yes went-PST.3.SG
  Translation: Q: Didi John go to the party? A: Yes (lit 'yes, went')
  Comment: The answer in A is only acceptable with an intonational break between particle and verb.
  Contributor: Giorgos Spathas
   Greek (Cappadocian) No Metin Bagriacik
   Greek (Homer) NA Cristina Guardiano
   Greek (Medieval) Yes Io Manolessou
   Guébie No Hannah Sande
   Gungbe (Porto-Novo) No Enoch Oladé Aboh
   Haitian No Michel DeGraff
   Hausa No Russell Schuh
+ Hebrew Yes Ur Shlonsky
  Words: hixnasta et ha a'gvanyiot la makrer ? ken, hixnasti.
  Gloss: put+in-you.m acc the tomatoes to-the fridge ? yes, put.in-I
  Translation: 'Did you put the tomatoes in the fridge'
  Contributor: Ur Shlonsky
+ Hebrew (Biblical) NA Massimo Gargiulo
  Words: Ken, kidebareka 'alenu la'asot (Ezr 10,12)
  Gloss: Yes.AFF PRTCL...to do (la'asot).INF
  Translation: Yes, as you have said we must do
  Comment: Q12 is possible, but not found in the Hebrew Bible. The example is not a proper answer to a question, but is introduced as an answer
  Contributor: Massimo Gargiulo
   Hungarian Yes Anna Szabolcsi
   Ibibio No Willie Willie
   Icelandic No Jim Wood
   Igbo No Mary Amaechi
   Iha No Mark Donohue
   imbabura quichua Yes UCLA Linguistics 210
   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 The verb must always occur with a bound inflectional element (most typically a tense morpheme.)
   K'iche' Yes Pam Munro
   Kashaya No John Gluckman
   KiLega NA Kasangati Kinyalolo
   Kom No Richard Kwamong
+ Korean Yes Grace Lee
  Words: Q: ilpon.ey ka.ss.e? A: ka.ss.e
  Gloss: Q: Japan-at went.past.e? A: went.past.e
  Translation: Q: Did you go to Japan? A: Yes.
  Comment: Q: 일본에 갔어? A: 갔어.
  Contributor: Grace Lee
   Kuot Yes Eva Lindström
   Kurdish (Sorani) No Yadgar Karimi
   Kusunda No Mark Donohue
   Laal No Florian Lionnet
   Latin No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Latin (Late) No Chiara Gianollo
   Lithuanian Yes Felix Thies
   Maasai (Kisongo) Yes Hilda Koopman
   Mada No Bebey Théodore
   Malagasy No Ed Keenan and Laura Kalin
   Malayalam Yes Mythili Menon
   Mandarin No Arthur Wang
   Marshallese No Heather Willson Sturman
   Moroccan Arabic No Arwa Rangwala
   Muyang No Bebey Théodore
   Nahuatl (Central Huasteca) Yes John Garcia
   Nepali Yes Mark Donohue
   Norwegian No Marit Julien
   Nupe No Jason Kandybowicz
   Nweh No Hilda Koopman
   Old English No ---
   Old French Yes Heather Burnett
   Old Norse No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Old Saxon No George Walkden
   Oluwanga (Eji) No Ceciliane Odangah
   Pashto No David Pate
+ Polish Yes Barbara Tomaszewicz see example and comment
  Words: Będzie Piotr pisał list? -- Będzie pisał.
  Gloss: aux.Fut Peter write letter --- aux.Fut write
  Translation: Will Peter be writing a letter? - Yes.
  Comment: This should be further researched, but especially in the Plural, "repeating" the main verb sounds good to me. "Będzieci pisali matce listy?" - "Będziemy pisali!" (Will you be writing letters to your mother? - Yes, we will.)
  Contributor: Barbara Tomaszewicz
  Words: Czy napisał Piotr list matce? - Tak, napisał.
  Gloss: Q wrote Peter letter to-mother - yes, wrote
  Translation: Did Peter write a letter to his mother? Yes, he did.
  Comment: (Feedback appreciated on this setting)
  Contributor: Barbara Tomaszewicz
   Portuguese No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Romanian No Monica Alexandrina Irimia
   Russian Yes Denis Paperno
   Shupamem No Abdoulaye Laziz Nchare
+ Sicilian Yes Cristina Guardiano
  Words: A: ki arrrwàu Màrju? B: se // arrwàu // se arrwàu
  Gloss: A: what arrived Mario? B: yes // he.arrived // yes he.arrived
  Translation: A: has Mario arrived? B: Yes (he has arrived)
  Contributor: Cristina Guardiano
   Skou NA Mark Donohue
+ Spanish No Victoria Mateu
  Comment: An intonational break is needed between the particle and the verb, e.g. ‘Subes? - Sí, subo’ (‘Are you going up? – Yes, I am’).
  Contributor: Victoria Mateu
   Swedish No fredrik heinat
+ Tagalog Yes Edith Aldridge
  Words: Q: Bi-bili=ba si Maria nang kape? A: Oo, bi-bili.
  Gloss: Q: Red-buy=Q Abs.PN Maria Obl coffee / A: yes Red-buy
  Translation: Will Maria buy coffee? Yes, she will.
  Contributor: Edith Aldridge
   Taiwanese Southern Min No Arthur Wang
+ Teramano Yes Iara Mantenuto
  Words: ke a kutʃinitə Lenə? - si (Lenə) a kutʃinitə
  Gloss: what has cooked Elena - yes (Elena) has cooked
  Translation: did Elena cook? - Yes (Elena) has cooked
  Contributor: Iara Mantenuto
   Thai Yes Peter Jenks
   Tommo-So No Laura McPherson
   Tukang Besi No Mark Donohue
   Tuki (Tukombo) No Edmond Biloa
   Tupi (Ancient) No Fabricio M. F. Gerardi
   Turkish Yes Deniz Ozyildiz
   Twi No Cansada Martin
   Vata No Hilda Koopman
   Vietnamese No Binh Ngo
   West Flemish No Liliane Haegeman
   Western Armenian Yes Hrayr Khanjian
   Wolof No Mariame Sy
   Wuhu Chinese No Zhuo Chen
   Xhosa No Xiujie Ma
   Yémba No Elsie Mawamba
   Yan-nhaŋu Yes Claire Bowern
   Zulu No Claire Halpert