Verbs and particles in minimal answers to yes-no questions in Czech

Abstract : This paper examines verbs and answering particles in minimal answers to yes-no questions in Czech. It is first argued that minimal answers involve ellipsis of the clause (IP) including second position clitics except for the verb that moves to the CP domain and the particles that are generated in the polarity projection in the CP domain. The verb moves to the FocP because it bears the polarity feature that is focused in polar question-answer pairs. Other focused XPs can also move to FocP. Negative questions are then argued to contain expletive or true negation. In the former case, they behave as positive (open) questions, while in the latter case, they behave as negative declaratives, i.e. convey a negative presupposition and have a fixed polarity. Negative questions containing true negation are confirmed by 'ano' (yes) and denied by 'ne' (no), because the particles here (dis)confirm the polarity of the presupposition conveyed by the question. To account for distribution of the particles, we propose that particles express two kinds of polarity: (i) absolute polarity [+] or [–] in answers to open questions, and (ii) relative polarity [same] or [reverse] in answers to questions with fixed polarity. Relative polarity simply indicates whether the polarity of the question and that of the answer are identical or different. The proposed analysis does not claim that there are two ano or ne in the lexicon. Rather, each particle is a single lexical item, whose polarity is interpreted in an absolute or in a relative way.
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G. Zybatow, P. Biskup, M. Guhl, C. Hurtig, O. Mueller-Reichau, M. Yastrebova. Formal Description of Slavic Languages 10, Dec 2013, Leipzig, Germany. Peter Lang, pp.197-215, 2015, Slavic Grammar from a Formal Perspective, the 10th anniversary FDSL conference, Leipzig 2013
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Hana Gruet-Skrabalova. Verbs and particles in minimal answers to yes-no questions in Czech. G. Zybatow, P. Biskup, M. Guhl, C. Hurtig, O. Mueller-Reichau, M. Yastrebova. Formal Description of Slavic Languages 10, Dec 2013, Leipzig, Germany. Peter Lang, pp.197-215, 2015, Slavic Grammar from a Formal Perspective, the 10th anniversary FDSL conference, Leipzig 2013. 〈hal-00911083〉

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