Speech Prosody 2010

Chicago, IL, USA
May 10-14, 2010

Asking or Not Asking in Maltese, That is the Question

Alexandra Vella

Institut für Linguistik-Phonetik, University of Cologne, Germany
Institute of Linguistics, University of Malta, Malta

This paper provides an overview of the form and function of questions in Maltese. An attempt to determine whether information-seeking questions differ from confirmation-seeking ones is made. Map Task questions coded for function as QUERY-YN and CHECK/ALIGN, as well as QUERY-WH questions , are examined. The paper aims to establish whether choice of tune in Maltese is determined by function, or whether function is subordinate to other factors such as information structure, the accentability or otherwise of specific structures etc. Accentability is found to have primacy of some sort over other factors, no categorical distinction in choice of tune being found to be associated with information-seeking type questions (QUERY-YN), as opposed to confirmation-seeking ones (CHECK/ALIGN).

Index Terms: Maltese intonation, asking questions, form and function in questions

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Vella, Alexandra (2010): "Asking or not asking in Maltese, that is the question", In SP-2010, paper 934.