A unified analysis of polar particles in Farsi

Maryam Mohammadi


Polar Response Particles (PRPs) have been widely studied in the literature, discussing the essence of their ambiguity in polarity and (dis)agreement reading sys- tems (Pope 1976) and what affects the reading preference. In languages like English and Farsi, in which the same particles satisfy both readings, PRPs are ambiguous in response to negative initiatives (including questions and assertions). In Farsi, on the other hand, PRPs are not only used in assertive responses to polar initiatives, but they also appear in interrogatives like tag questions and alternative questions. In this paper, I propose a unified analysis of PRPs in Farsi in both forms. My analysis is based on the feature marking account (Roelofsen and Farkas 2015), and I propose a lexical ambiguity that can benefit the account for interrogative forms too. Moreover, I claim that bias in the initiatives affect the reading variation in ambiguous cases, in the sense that the stronger the bias in the antecedent the higher preference for the (dis)agreement reading over the comparison to polarity reading.


polar response particles; questions; ambiguity; bias; ellipsis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v7i1.5268

Copyright (c) 2022 Maryam Mohammadi

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