Obligatory, Optional and Contrastive Occurrences of KE Modern Persian

Jalal Rahimian

Abstract


The function of particles like ke in modern Persian varies according to context. As a morphosyntactic element with a range of roles, it functions as a subordinator, an adverbial conjunction, a focus marker and an interrogative word. Ke is most frequent in subordinate clauses, and the majority of Persian grammars discuss it in the context of complex
sentences. Though almost every Persian grammar deals with ke, obligatory, optional and contrastive occurrences of this particle remain to be investigated. Predicting such occurrences is the goal of this article. With relative clauses ke is optional provided the head N P is followed by pronouns like ance 'that, which'; otherwise it is obligatory. With content clauses the head NP is obligatorily followed by ke, whereas the
head NP is optionally followed by it. As a temporal element ke is always obligatory; as a focus marker and a temporal element it is always contrastive. Besides the above roles, some residual cases are discussed: as a complementizer of minor clauses ke is obligatory; in response to a statement of warning ke is optionally used.

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