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Lesson 8: ”Wh” Questions

Vocabulary

–á

Suffix (any): one who, doer

bebáa

interrogative pronoun

bo

mountain

dan

language

dim

container

e–

Prefix (any): science of

hothul

grandparent

lawida

to be pregnant

om

to teach

shon

peace

We are introducing two new affixes. “Affix” is a generic term for prefixes (added to the beginning of words) and suffixes (added to the end of words). The term “affix” also includes infixes (added into the middle of words), which English doesn’t use but Láadan does somehwat.

The prefix “e–” means “science of” and is similar in meaning to the English suffix “–ology.” The suffix “–á” means “doer” or “one who...” and is rather like the English suffixes “–er” and “–ist.” You can form many useful words with the suffix “–á” and the prefix “e–”. For example, you can begin with “shon,” the word meaning “peace;” “shoná” means “peacemaker,” “eshon” means “peace science,” and “eshoná” would then be “peace scientist.” Similarly, from “om,” “to teach,” we have “omá,” “teacher” and “ehom,” “education” and “ehomá;” the last refers to a specialist in education who is not herself necessarily a teacher.

“Wh”-Questions

[Verb (Neg) CP–S]

The subject of the lesson is Wh-questions (a very English term that owes its form to the fact that most English question words start with “wh”), questions that cannot be answered with “yes” or “no.” They are very simply formed in Láadan, but look so different from their English counterparts that they are likely to be awkward for English speakers at first.

These questions begin with “Báa” like any other question, although in speech that word may not appear when it is not necessary for clarity. The item of information that is being requested appears as the pronoun “be” or one of its plural forms, plus “–báa” to mark it as interrogative.

The interrogative pronoun’s plural forms, “bezhebáa” and “benebáa” are rarely used by English speakers. They are presented mostly to ease the transition into Láadan for those who speak languages that require agreement in number between the interrogative and the items being inquired after.

Examples

Bíi thal shon wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

Peace is good.

Báa thal shon?listen to this sentence pronounced

Is peace good?

Báa thal bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who/what is good?

 

Bíi om with wáa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The woman teaches.

Báa om with?listen to this sentence pronounced

Does the woman teach?

Báa om bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who/what teaches?

 

Bíi meháya with wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The women are beautiful.

Báa meháya with?listen to this sentence pronounced

Are the women beautiful?

Báa áya bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who/what is beautiful?

Báa meháya bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who/what are beautiful?

Báa meháya bezhebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced
Báa meháya benebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who/what are beautiful?

 

Bíi laya ra dim wi.listen to this sentence pronounced

The container clearly is not red.

Báa laya ra dim?listen to this sentence pronounced

Isn’t the container red?

Báa laya ra bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

What/who isn’t red?

Exercises

Translate the following into English

1  

Báa laya bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

2  

Báa di bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

3  

Báa míi bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

4  

Báa om bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

5  

Báa hal bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

6  

Báa lawida bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Transform the following into “Wh”-questions. Translate into English before and after the transformation.

7  

Bíi balin with wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

8  

Bíi thal shon wi.listen to this sentence pronounced

9  

Bíi mehóoha hothul wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

10  

Bíi memime lezh wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

11  

Bíi héeya omá wáa.listen to this sentence pronounced

12  

Bíi áya bo wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

Notice, in the answers to #9 and #10, that I’ve used the plural forms of “bebáa” (and pluralized the verbs to agree with them). You won’t see them often, but you should recognize them when you do.

Translate the following question into Láadan. Then answer the question in Láadan with the supplied word and translate your answer into English.

13  

What thrives?

dala (plural)

14  

What is alien?

dan

15  

What is furry?

bud

16  

Who follows?

Therísha

17  

Who needleworks?

hena (plural)

18  

What is open?

dim

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Answers

1  

What is red?

2  

Who speaks?

3  

Who is amazed?

4  

Who teaches?

5  

Who works?

6  

Who is pregnant?

 

7  

The woman is old.

Báa balin bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who is old?

8  

Peace is good (obviously).

Báa thal bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

What/who is good?

9  

The grandparents are weary.

Báa mehóoha bezhebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who/what are weary?

10  

We (few) ask.

Báa memime bezhebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who (few) are asking?

11  

The teacher is afraid.

Báa héeya bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Who is afraid?

12  

The mountain is beautiful.

Báa áya bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

What/who is beautiful?

 

13  

Báa tháa bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Bíi metháa dala wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The plants thrive.

14  

Báa née bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Bíi née dan wi.listen to this sentence pronounced

The language is alien.

15  

Báa shane bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Bíi shane bud wi.listen to this sentence pronounced

The clothes are furry.

16  

Báa doth bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Bíi doth Therísha wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

Teresa follows.

17  

Báa dathim bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Bíi medathim hena wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The sisters needlework.

18  

Báa u bebáa?listen to this sentence pronounced

Bíi u dim wa.listen to this sentence pronounced

The container is open.

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