Anna Gexon and Antony Jose
Spoken by approximately 2.88% of Indians, Malayalam is a Dravidian language and one of the twenty-two scheduled languages of India. In the state of Kerala as well as the union territories of Lakshadweep and Puducherry, the language is recognized as an official language. In 2013, Malayalam was named a ‘Classical Language in India’. Languages vary in how they form interrogatives. Malayalam has a dedicated interrogative inflectional form and it is often referred to as grammatical mood. Interrogatives in the Malayalam language are generally divided between yes/no questions, which ask whether or not something is the case and invite an answer of the yes/no type (/ate/-/alla/,/illa/), alternatively, a suffix added to the verb and wh-questions, which specify the information being asked about using a word like which, who, how, etc. can also give answers to the yes/no type questions. However, in the Malayalam language, the markers get meaning changes according to the context. As a result, the same marker can be used to give different meanings. This phenomenon is very evident in question formation. Malayalam use both syntax and prosody to distinguish interrogative sentences from declarative sentences and also marks interrogatives morphologically through a simple vowel change, i.e., by the inflection of the verb. This paper interrogates the interesting phenomenon of interrogatives in the Malayalam language by collecting data from various sources such as native speakers of Malayalam and some standard texts of Malayalam.
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