Encoding polar questions in Dholuo


  • Benson Oduor Ojwang


Tashlihyt Berber, phonology, gemination, imperfective


Most languages have both content questions and polar questions (Dryer 2005a). Previous studies on Dholuo have considered content questions in detail (cf. Okoth 1997; Omondi 1982, 1993). However, research on the nature of polar questions in Dholuo remains inconclusive. Omondi (1993) identifies a few particles in polar interrogatives but does not offer the full range of possible pragmatic interpretations beyond the structural function of these words. Onyoyo (2001) also outlines some particles in interrogatives of Dholuo, but does not place them in context and simply states that such particles provide more meaning. In this paper, I present descriptive data to illustrate the semantic, syntactic and pragmatic properties of polar questions in Dholuo. The two main strategies considered here are interrogative uses of question particles and affixations to the verb.