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The syntax of the Finnish question particle

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Anders Holmberg



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a book chapter that has been published in its final definitive form by Oxford University Press, 2014.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


In descriptive terms Finnish yes/no-questions are formed by adjoining the enclitic particle -ko to the first constituent of the sentence. In the unmarked case this is the finite verb or auxiliary moved to sentence-initial position. In the marked case when the question narrowly focuses on a constituent of the sentence, that constituent is fronted, and the clitic is attached to it. Its syntactic properties broadly follow from the the fact that it is a focus marker and a question marker. Like the focus-clitic -kin 'also/even' it merges with a TP-internal constituent, in a position where it c-commands a focused category. Unlike -kin it moves to the C-domain, pied-piping the constituent it is merged with.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holmberg A

Editor(s): Svenonius, P.

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Functional Structure from Top to Toe

Year: 2014

Online publication date: 01/12/2014

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Place Published: Oxford, UK


DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199740390.003.0009

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9780199740390