QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Questions fall into two categaries: (a) those that can be answered with a yes or no and (b) those that cannot. (Yes is hoje and no is rah.)
Taneraic uses the marker ni at the beginning of the sentence when asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no. (When ni, preceded by an e, is not an interrogative, it translates as “if” or “whether”: Avi yobahuda e ni vayer sebouda. He asked me whether I would come.)
Ni budas seduscya ai gavani?
Did you take a dip in the river?
Ni yeb das ga ai hauya?
Do wages rise in keeping with prices?
To avoid contradiction when questions are asked in the negative, Taneraic uses buta (true) for yes and ordinary rah for no:
Ni rah oumas vas? Buta, ai oundono vas oumas.
Is there no knife? Yes, [there is a knife] in the drawer.
Ni rah bumandibda? Rah [mandibda].
Aren’t you cold? No[, I’m not].
Questions like who, where, what, cannot be answered with a yes or no; however, they invariably begin with nu in Taneraic.
The adjectival “what” or “which” follows the same pattern in Taneraic:
When “what” means “what kind of”, Taneraic uses the fuller expression:
Ayo vayole nu reta beijia?
What [kind of] animal is that?
Ni busyida e nu reta agiuqovata yole airuqdi?
Do you know what a state he’s in?
(Here, nu reta is indirect — which is why e precedes it — for the question begins with ni can be answered with a yes or no.)
Nu, short for nu saqir (what) or nu tou (who), is also used in equational sentences:
Nu vayole nunis yole yoda?
Who is that singing?
Nu vayole ilirat aicyoya nunieni?
What is the meaning of this expression?
Nu vayole abui svalat yole vayenda?
What would you like me to say?
The paraphrase nu vayole nun yole often translates “what” in formal language or language used with strangers:
Nu vayole nun yole yoyenda?
What did he say?
Nu (vayole nun yole) nuni daga semoqada?
What does that box contain? [What’s in the box?]
The paraphrase nu vayole nunis nu often translates “who” in formal language or language used with strangers:
Nu vayole nunis nu yoda?
Who is singing?
Nu may stand alone, as in English What? (Tone determines whether its use is polite or impolite.) Note the following:
What time is it?
What day is it?
What is the matter?
Nu mouseda cer? =
Nu vayole nun yole mouseda cer?
What is/could be more innocent?
When Nu follows a preposition, which may be placed at the beginning (for emphasis) or at the end of a sentence (Taneraic cannot end on a preposition like English can), it is governed by it:
Gasta nu [tou] vadas duqou aher yenda?
To whom do I have the honor of speaking? [I have the honor of speaking to whom? Whom do I have the honor of speaking to?]
Yosebouda gasta nu [tou]?
Whom did they come with? [With whom did they come? They came with whom?]
E nu [saqir] yohemoqada?
What is he dreaming of?
Nu nun (pronoun form for things), nu nunis (pronoun form for people) and nu nuni (adjective form) translates “which”, when the question involves a choice:
Nu nuni daga?
Buyerda nu nuni daga?
Which box do you want?
Nu nun vayole garugayaron iher Parija?
Which is the train to Paris?
Nu nuni asyuca ama meinuta yoyole nun yole bupevada cer?
Which [one] of the four seasons do you prefer?
Iher nu nunis vajicyadi dagat?
Whom [= which person] do I give the box to?
U ganien Anne gasta Greg! Nu nunis vayole esyabetis?
Here are Anne and Greg. Which is the elder [of the two]?
Nu nun ama hamoya beqi nunieni asendi pepeva asairtovi nun?
Which of these drinks is the cheapest [one]?
Nu nun avi tuhuistada pepeva xayari, nuni gadí nun i nuni mirti nun?
Which [one] do I look best in, the white or the red?
Nu nun asbanastada, yendi nur spahi jalinda?
Which is/would be better, [to] say something or let it pass?
When nu nun stands alone, it may be translated by what/which is/are it/they:
Yoyamanda ai meizoli jouna. Nu nun?
He has starred in several films. What are they? [= which ones?]
where, nu ga
Nu ga braujon suda?
Where is the railway station?
when, nu go
Nu go buqabda buhai jounabon?
When are you going to the cinema?
why, nu gi
Nu gi tovun yoda?
Why is the child singing?
how, nu ge
Nu ge buqabda buhai jounabon?
How are you going to the cinema?
Nu ge vabepequstada?
How am I responsible?
Nu ge may refer to manner or method.
Nu puno? means “What?”, when said in response to a curious look, reproach, etc.
“Whose” may be translated by nu sescyudi; literally, “who belongs to”:
Nu sescyudi nunieni put?
Whose are these tools?
“Whose” may also be translated by aher nu; literally, “of whom”:
Toussa aher nu liestonattiyo?
Whose dog bit him?