The Prosody of Questions in Iraqw

Josephat B. Maghway


Iraqw, a northern Tanzanian Southern Cushitic language, is prosodically a two level-tone language, with a simple H and L tone inventory. In syntactic typology, it is an SOV language. The deployment of tone is here investigated in interrogative Iraqw sentences, focusing on Yes-No, Wh- and Complementary questions. In Iraqw, a question is (a) generally characterised by a question particle suffixed to the penultimate lexical word and (b) prosodically specified as a ‘Wh-question’, ‘Yes-No question’ or ‘Complementary question’. Questions of the first type end with a LH prosodic pattern; the second with the opposite pattern, HL, and the third with either LH or HL, accompanied by a raised overall pitch setting

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