Journal of Universal Language
Sejong University Language Research Institue

Questions in Natural and Artificial Languages

Christo Moskovsky1, Alan Libert1
1University of Newcastle

Copyright ⓒ 2016, Sejong University Language Research Institue. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Published Online: Jan 01, 2017


All natural languages have interrogative constructions. This paper is a survey of the structure of the two major kinds of questions ,yes -no

questions and wh -question s in natural languages and artificial languages. There are several ways used to form each of these types ,and sometimes more than one method is used in the same question. Yes-no questions can involve particles ,a different word order than statements (namely different order of the subject with respect to a verb ,the result of subject -verb inversion) ,and/or a different intonation pattern ,while wh-questions will contain a wh-phrase ,which may und ergo movement ,and subject-verb inversion may also take place. Natural languages are presented first, along with two relevant language universals. Artificial languages are then presented ,and it will be seen that on the who le they are not significantly different from natural languages in how they form questions . Finally some recommendations for language designers are discussed.

Keywords: interrogative; question ; syntax; artificial language