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Language Families and WH Issue Coursework

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Updated: Jul 24th, 2022

So as to understand the WH issues and how these affect the different language families, it is important to look at what language families. Idiom families are languages which are sort together as being from a widespread antecedent or pertaining to a comparable descent. Due to their common descent, languages in a language family have a number of similarities. Relative linguistics is the stake through which the relationship of languages within a language relation is established. Proportional linguistics is the division of historical linguistics that is accountable for comparing and complementary languages in a bid to institute the historical relatedness that subsists amid such languages. In language families, genetic relatedness is established through common origins or proto-languages. Language families are constructed through comparative linguistic (Chomsky, 2005). In the course of this paper, the languages being evaluated are from the Altaic language family. Here, the Tungusic language family will be evaluated alongside the Turkic language families. The paper will present information with regards to a number of Wh Questions and how these two language families relate to each other. Some of the important analytical questions will include, what marks a clause as a question? Is the Wh question WH in situ or not? Why? What is the inventory of the WH elements and are they only used for WH questions? Are there multiple WH questions? Is there any sign of cleft-like structures in the WH questions? Are there any linguistic discussions of subjacency effects in the language? Are there D-Linked WH elements? Does the language employ any marking that is also found in the y/n question? Is there partial WH movement? These are some of the questions that will shape the analysis of the comparison and contrast of the two language families. (Vajda, 2004)

The languages that fall under the Turkic families usually contain vowel harmony. The languages under the Tungusic language family are usually distinguished from other languages through their morphology. Here, the Wh questions are employed so as to know more about different topics. With regards to time, the language employs – when – to inquire about time. Place is represented by where while a person is represented by who, Reason and manner are inquired into using why and how respectively. Object, ideas, and actions are interrogated using what. Languages under the Turkic language family are simple and possess extensive agglutination which is evident in the suffixes and other affixes. Although the agglutinative aspect is also present in the Tungusic languages although here, it is more morphological compared to the Tungusic language. The Tungusic language family is made up of languages that have complex case systems. In the Turkic language system, there is subject-object-verb order. This is universal within the entire languages that are found in the Turkic language family. The Tungusic language family also consists of languages that exhibit complex vowel harmony and patterns. This family of languages is also bound with regards to vowel tenseness and vowel roundness. The language system has a unique vocabulary which distinguishes it from other languages within the language family. (Culicover, Peter & Wendy, 2004)

Question clauses in Tungusic are similar to those on Turkic language families. Here, the quoted speech is usually restated using the same words. The use of quotation marks is also similar in both language families. In the report WH question, there are a number of important elements to take into consideration. In the language, the choice of alternatives is inquired using the interrogative which. Possession and the objective form of person take whose and whom are their respective interrogative adjectives. How much and how many are employed when inquiring about non-count verbs and countable verbs respectively. In the event a person should want to repeat any wh question in this language families, there is a systematic way of doing it. Here, the quoted words are usually placed on another cause. The Turkic and Tungusic language families employ the same design with regards to the function of the main clause nod it subordination. At this juncture, repeating a query that has been asked by somebody else is done during utilizing the quoted words within another phrase. Usually, the main clause is subordinated or any clause within the main clause can also be subordinated. In the language, duration and frequency are addressed using how long and how often. Distance and description are interrogated using how far and what kind of respectively. The main sentence also undergoes specific changes with regards to the repetition of a question. Usually, the question being quoted is designed to adjust to the changes that are presented by location and time within the main sentence. The speaker’s point of view is very important as it determines the other changes that take place. With regards to the Turkic and Tungusic language families, there is a systematic change that takes place with regards to the verb tense, pronoun tense, and the adverbs. Here, they are made to adjust to the speaker’s point of view. In some cases, there is only tense adjustment whereas other cases involve changing the pronoun and tense adjustment. In rare cases, the changes affect the pronoun, tense, and location (Fukui, 2009).

In the language, the verb tense contained in the noun clause is also meant to change. In these language families, the grammar is usually dependent on the topic. Changes are made with regards to whether the topic of the question is the predicate or subject of the sentence. This change takes place with regards to the point of view presented by the speaker. For example, in the occurrence the speaker is speaking about an incident that happened in the past about previous event, the past ideal may be used in the noun passage. This is major done so as to emphasize the difference that exists in time. This is meant to elaborate the specific changes that take place in both the Turkic and Tungusic language families. The same case is applied for the past, past perfect, past progressive, and past perfect progressive (Vajda, 2004).


Vajda, E.J. (2004). Languages and prehistory of central Siberia..New York: John Benjamins Publishers.

Chomsky, Noam (2005). Current issues in linguistics theory. The Hague: Mouton

Culicover, Peter W. and Wendy Wilkins (2007). Locality in linguistic theory. New York: Academic Press.

Fukui, Naoki (2009). Extraction of naze: Some theoretical implications. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 6, 503-526.

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