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Relatives, interrogatives and other such particles

From:Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>
Date:Saturday, April 22, 2006, 3:06
English and several other Indo-European languages conflate the
interrogative and relative particles (who, where, what, etc. can be
relative or interrogative depending on context and maybe intonation).
Some other languages distinguish them (including some IE languages like
Greek: hos, hopou, etc. vs ti, pou, etc.).  Are there languages that conflate
the interrogatives or relatives with some other series -- maybe
the indefinites (who? = somebody, where? = somewhere,
what? = something...) or indifferents (who? = anybody, etc.)
or even the demonstratives?

I'm considering an approach for my new language where the
indefinite particle acts as an interrogative in question sentences.
A yes/no question just has "ftu" before the verb; a more
specific WH-question has "ftu" before the verb and "shti" after the
questioned element.  In non-question sentences, "shti" means
"some, any".  This makes it tricky to ask things like
"Do you have any cats?" -- the most straightforward way would
be ambiguous with "Which cats do you have?"  This is
probably too confusing and I may well drop it.  Or maybe there
is an alternate word for "some/any" that is used only in
questions...?  Or a circumlocution like "one or more"?

Jim Henry


Larry Sulky <larrysulky@...>
Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>
Dirk Elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>
Peter Bleackley <peter.bleackley@...>