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ISSN : 1226-3206(Print)
Studies in Modern Grammar Vol.103 pp.49-76

Responses to English Split Interrogatives

Mija Kim**
* I would like to express my gratitude to anonymous reviewers of the journal.
** Lecturer, Kyung Hee University.


This study deals with the discourse functions of the response particles in a split interrogative (hereinafter, SI), thereby contributing to effectively identifying the characteristics of the tag part in SI. I provide a piece of evidence, through the corpus data, that the tag part must be a non-wh-question and essentially functions as a biased polar question. The data tell us that the interlocutors can choose whether to use the SI or a regular question. Through the data that the speakers select a regular question, this paper tries to provide the evidence. In the process of analyzing their functions in SI, this study demonstrates that these particles must have a referential scope in picking up their antecedents in the previous question: a wide or narrow scope in referring to their antecedents. This characteristic leads us to identify the biased property of the tag question, therefore arguing that this tag must be a biased polar question. In the course of these works, we figured out that the addressees apparently take three strategies to respond to the split interrogative: to respond only the wh-question, the tag part, or both.