The Mandarin sentence final particle ba has been described as expressing
un- certainty or soliciting agreement in declaratives (‘weakening’ an
assertion, Han 1995, Li 2006 a.o.). However, unlike English ‘weakeners’
like final rises or epistemic modals, ba in interrogatives appears to
‘strengthen’ a question to a demand: “you must answer this question”. This
is sometimes taken to show how discourse...