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Lesson 7: Yes/No Questions

Vocabulary

Báa

Type-of-Sentence Word: interrogative

balin

to be old (of persons or animals; rarely of inanimates to mean “antique”)

be

he/she/it (third person pronoun, not gender-marked, singular)

ben

they (third person pronoun, not gender-marked, many: 6 or more)

bezh

they (third person pronoun, not gender-marked, few: 2 to 5)

bun

to be new (of inanimates; occasionally of persons who are “new” to a role or position)

dala

plant, any growing thing

oób

to jump

shane

to be downy; to be furry

waá

Evidence Morpheme: believed to be false because the speaker mistrusts the source

As we discussed in the previous lesson, once the Type-of-Sentence Word is established, it need not be repeated in connected sentences. Another factor enters the situation now that we have more than one type of Type-of-Sentence Word. When the Type-of-Sentence Word changes (“statement” to “question” or vice-versa), the new one must be given. Where the Type-of-Sentence Word does not change from sentence to sentence, it may be omitted after the first sentence.

Note that the third person pronouns are not gender-marked. This means that they do not carry the meaning of “he” or “she;” neither are they the neuter “it,” (marked as neither male nor female). Because this lack of gender can be difficult to render in English, we sometimes resort to “X” to translate the problematic pronoun; more often, we supply a gender based on context.

As in the case of “with” (person) you can specify that a given pronoun refers to a male by use of the suffix “–id” (male); thus “behid” (remember the “h” to separate the vowels) would mean “he”explicitly male.

Yes/No Questions

[Verb (Neg) CP–S]

You’ll notice that the sentence word-order is exactly the same for asking a question as for making a statement. The main difference is that instead of starting the sentence with “Bíi,” you begin with “Báa,” the interrogative Type-of-Sentence Word. The other difference is that, when you ask a question, rather than providing information, you are asking for some. Therefore, you won’t use an Evidence Word at the end of a question.

Examples

Bíi thal with wa.listen to this pronounced

The woman is good.

Báa thal with?listen to this pronounced

Is the woman good?

 

Bíi tháa ne wáa.listen to this pronounced

You thrive, I hear.

Báa tháa ne?listen to this pronounced

Do you thrive? Are you well?

“Báa tháa ne?” is also the standard question “How are you?”

Bíi laya bal waá.listen to this pronounced

The bread is red (I hear, but I don’t believe it).

Báa laya bal?listen to this pronounced

Is the bread red?

Exercises

Translate the following into English

1  

Báa shane mid?listen to this pronounced

2  

Báa mehóoha thul?listen to this pronounced

3  

Báa hal be?listen to this pronounced

4  

Báa thal bal?listen to this pronounced

5  

Báa medóon bezh?listen to this pronounced

6  

Báa née dala?listen to this pronounced

Transform the following into questions; translate into English before and after.

7  

Bíi oób hena wa.listen to this pronounced

8  

Bíi wíi hesh wáa.listen to this pronounced

9  

Bíi medathim benid wáa.listen to this pronounced

10  

Bíi héeya thili wi.listen to this pronounced

11  

Bíi ndi Shuzhéth i Thíben wáa.listen to this pronounced

12  

Bíi memíi nen wa.listen to this pronounced

Translate the following into Láadan

13  

Is the stone beautiful?

14  

Do the pigs follow?

15  

Is the grain red?

16  

Is the pillow old?

17  

Are you thriving?

18  

Are the doors open?

In #16, you might be tempted to use the verb “balin” (old, of animates). The pillow in #16 doesn’t qualify (unless it’s an antique—a state not declared for it in this sentence). Instead, we need to use “rabun” (old, of inanimates) [ra– (non–) + bun (new, of inanimates)]. This means “old”—but a very different “old” than “balin.” “Balin” refers to people or animals that have lived a long time. “Rabun” refers instead to objects or things that are no longer new—with the implication that they may be worn out or outmoded. English uses the same word “old” for both concepts. The words we use tend to channel the things we think; so, having only the one word, it becomes more difficult to distinguish the two concepts. This leads to much suffering by our elders as well as much squandering of the skills and wisdom they have accrued over their long lives—which might otherwise benefit us all.

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Answers

1  

Is the creature furry?

2  

Are the parents weary?

3  

Does X work (Is X working)?

4  

Is the bread good?

5  

Are they (few) correct?

6  

Is the plant alien?

 

7  

A sibling jumps.

Báa oób hena?listen to this pronounced

Is a sibling jumping?

8  

The grass is alive.

Báa wíi hesh?listen to this pronounced

Is the grass alive?

9  

They (many, male) needlework.

Báa medathim benid?listen to this pronounced

Do they (many, male) needlework?

10  

The fish is afraid.

Báa héeya thili?listen to this pronounced

Is the fish afraid?

11  

Suzette and Steven speak.

Báa ndi Shuzhéth i Thíben?listen to this pronounced

Do Suzette and Steven speak?

12  

You (many) are amazed.

Báa memíi nen?listen to this pronounced

Are you (many) amazed?

 

13  

Báa áya ud?listen to this pronounced

14  

Báa medoth muda?listen to this pronounced

15  

Báa laya ede?listen to this pronounced

16  

Báa rabun thom?listen to this pronounced

17  

Báa tháa ne?listen to this pronounced

18  

Báa mehu áath?listen to this pronounced

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