Marking of polar questions (Surgut Khanty)

PhonInt: Polar questions appear in the same word order as their declarative equivalents and are marked exclusively by intonation.

(1a) nüŋ mät-ən.

you tired-pst.2du

‘You are tired.’ (L. N. K.)

(1b) nüŋ mät-ən?

you tired-pst.2du

‘Are you tired?’ (Csepregi 1998: 49.)

(2a) sūp ʌī-tə kīm-a jə-ɣ.

soup eat-prs.ptc quality-lat become-pst.3sg

‘The soup is ready.’ (L. N. K.)

(2b) sūp ʌī-tə kīm-a jə-ɣ?

soup eat-prs.ptc quality-lat become-pst.3sg

‘Is the soup ready?’ (L. N. K.)

(3a) nüŋ lɔ̄pka-nə woʌ-ən.

you shop-loc be.pst-2sg

‘You have been to the shop.’ (L. N. K.)

(3b) nüŋ lɔ̄pka-nə woʌ-ən?

you shop-loc be.pst-2sg

‘Have you been to the shop?’ (L. N. K.)

In Surgut Khanty, the word order of polar questions is identical with the word order of affirmatives. The only difference is in the intonation. Affirmatives are pronounced with falling intonation, while the last (verbal) element of polar questions has a rising–falling intonation. If the verb consists of two syllables, the intonation of the first syllable is steeply rising, while the second is pronounced with a steeply falling tone (1b), (3b). If the verb is monosyllabic, the rising–falling intonation contour is applied on that single syllable.


Márta Csepregi