Meh contributes VERUM: A study of biased questions in colloquial Singapore English

Gregory Antono

Abstract


This paper analyzes the contribution of the meh particle in biased questions in Colloquial Singapore English (CSE). Canonical CSE questions can be formed with inversion, or with declaratives with rising intonation (maintaining neutrality), while non-canonical questions typically require discourse particles. Meh occurs clause-finally (It’s raining meh?) and has been described to mark questions and express skepticism, encoding the opposite of what the speaker thinks to be true. Drawing from Romero and Han (2004), I propose that meh contributes the meta-conversational operator verum, which triggers the existence of an epistemic implicature.


Keywords


biased questions; non-canonical questions; discourse particles; Singapore English; Asian Englishes

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v7i1.5238

Copyright (c) 2022 Gregory Antono

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