Rhetorical questions have been analyzed as pragmatic readings of genuine questions. One view sees rhetorical questions as an assertion of opposite polarity; the other as interrogatives biased in their answer set. A third, less known approach, is to view rhetorical questions as syntactically different from genuine questions. This paper provides morphosyntactic evidence for this third option from Basque corpus data. In Basque certain readings of rhetorical questions are marked with mirative morphemes. The relationship between rhetorical questions and mirativity is proposed to follow from deictic features in the syntax of rhetorical questions.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-471-3 library binding
vii + 598 pages
publication date: 2017
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA