Previous Up Next

2.6  Discourse, interjections

A question is indicated in Talmit by (a)só? or emphasized (a)ssó? at the end of a sentence (equivalent to Japanese ka, Chinese ma). It can be framed by the reverse form os at the beginning of a sentence. Just using os without (a)só is possible, but not common. Similarly, a positive statement can be emphasized by (a)ló, (a)lló and a negative by (a)ró, (a)rró.

The sound-symbolic association of l with pleasantness and r with unpleasantness was so strong that it affected the roots √pla ’state of liking/disliking’, √khran ’(morally) good/bad state’, √khlis ’state of happiness/unhappiness’ so that they use l for the positive signum (2.1.3) and r for the negative:

Hence: Palá-nójo lo! ’I like it!’, Purá-nójo ro! ’I don’t like it!’.

Doubt can be expressed by (a)nó?, (a)nnó? (Jap. deshō, darō).

All these particles are also used as interjections: aló ’wow!, hey!’ (positive surprise, praise, amazement), arró! ’ugh!’ (disgust, disliking), anó?! ’really?!’ (surprise, questioning a statement).

Answering with ’yes’ or ’no’ depends on the question. If it ends with a verb, one repeats the verb to agree or puts it into the negative state to disagree. If the question ends with a state marked by a postposition, one repeats the postposition, e.g.:

To negate, one uses mulpá ’no, it isn’t’, which is short for θerpá-ejár mulpá-nójo ’This is not the case’.
In agreement to a proposition one can also say palá! ’I like it!’.

Previous Up Next