Adverbs such as SEGURAMENTE and PROBABLEMENTE in Spanish, and KITTO and TABUN in Japanese, cannot co-occur with interrogative sentences. Epistemic adverbs in general have been thought to follow this pattern. It is believed that these adverbs cannot co-occur with interrogative sentences because of a conflict between epistemic modality and interrogative modality. Nevertheless, there are occasions when adverbs such as A LO MEJOR and QUIZA in Spanish, and MOSHIKASURUTO, HYOTTOSURUTO and ARUIWA in Japanese, can co-occur with interrogative sentences.
The aim of this study is to explain why this is possible. First, we analyzed the syntactic behavior of adverbs that co-occur with interrogative sentences. Then, we examined the basic meaning of these adverbs and of interrogative sentences. Our results were as follows:
1)Adverbs that co-occur with interrogative sentences, are adverbsthat express 'the determination of possibility'. They have a common syntactic feature: the juxtaposition of more than one proposition. This syntactic feature derives from their basic meaning, which is indetermination. In other words, the speaker cannot determine whether a proposition is affirmative or negative.
2)In both Spanish and Japanese, adverbs that express the determination of possibility and interrogative sentences have the same basic meaning: indetermination. This agreement in basic meaning enables the co-occurrence of these adverbs and interrogative sentences.
The Linguistic Society of Japan