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Methods of Question-Forming

From:Arthaey Angosii <arthaey@...>
Date:Tuesday, April 8, 2003, 3:58
Back in December, I wrote up some notes on question-forming in Asha'ille
via ablauts (that _is_ the terms for grammatical changing of internal
vowels, yes?).  I then promptly forgot that I ever wrote such a thing.  A
month ago I rewrote some different question-forming rules.

Today I was going through my Asha'ille text files and discovered the old
one, and am now in a bit of a quandary as to what to do.  My inclination is
to allow both to exist, because I like both (otherwise why did I write
them? :).  But I'm showing you guys both with a request for comments on
either before I make my decision "official".


|Ojo| tags a sentence as a question that expects a yes or no.  Compare:

    Shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille.       "You speak Asha'ille."
    Ojo shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille?   "Do you speak Asha'ille?"

The question mark is only used in romanized Asha'ille, and even then it's
inconsistent.  You can specify the answer you anticipate by adding |alunun
jhi| (for "yes") or |alunun kre| (for "no") to the end of the sentence.
For example:

    Ojo shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille alunun[1] jhi?
    "You speak Asha'ille, don't you?"

    Ojo shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille alunun kre?
    "You don't speak Asha'ille, do you?"

(I apologize to the non-native English speakers; I've heard that our weird
negative-question forms can be confusing.  At least Asha'ille is clearer
than English in that respect.  :P )

|Ve| alone before a verb asks "how" -- basically, it says "give me an
adverb to describe this situation."  For example, |Ve shavaerdhi aet ne
asha'ille?| could be answered by any of |jhelle| "well", |das chuna
(kek)[2]| "every day", |cresón| "like a foreigner", |aet| "(only) to you",
etc.  When answering a ve-question, you don't include |ve'| in your
response.  Thus you reply |jhelle| for "well" even though alone |jhelle|
means "good" and |ve'jhelle| "well".

[1]  |alunun| refers to the first word of the sentence.  In the normal
numbered-suffix scheme ("1 before" = |-sa|, "2 before" = |-da|, etc) it's
equivalent to alun-N if you counted the entire thing and there was a suffix
for that number N.

[2]  You can always add an ending |ke-| word to clarify how your answer
should be taken, although this is much more common of multiple-word answers
than of single-word ones.


To form a question, the vowel of the stressed syllable is lowered, except
/A/ > /i/.

    /i/  > /I/
    /I/  > /E/
    /e/  > /E/
    /E/  > /A/
    /A/  > /i/
    /u/  > /o/
    /o/  > /O/
    /O/  > /A/
    /ai/ > /O/

Note that the nine vowels change into only six distinct vowels.  Such is
the cost of asking a question.  :)  Ablaut-questions aren't supposed to end
with upward inflection like in English, thus I'm not using a question mark
for these questions to help suppress the urge.  :P  (In the tag-questions
above, you may end with upward inflection.) For example:

    Shavaerdhi aet ne asha'ille.            (declarative)
    "You speak Asha'ille."

    Shavaerdhi aet na asha'ille.            (Yes/No, slighly suggesting Yes)
    "Do you speak Asha'ille?"               (lower only "ne"[3])

    Shivaerdhi et na asha'ihlle.            (Yes/No, strongly suggestion No)
    "Do you speak Asha'ille?"               (lower all stressed vowels)

    Shivaerdhi aet na asha'ille.            (clarify verb)
    "You what with Asha'ille?  Speak it?"   (lower verb)

    Shavaerdhi et na asha'ille.             (clarify subject)
    "Who speaks Asha'ille?  You?"           (lower subject)

    Shavaerdhi aet na asha'ihlle.           (clarify object)
    "What do you speak?  Asha'ille?"        (lower object)

    Vohaerdhi aet na asha'ille.                        (ask a verb)
    "You do what with Asha'ille?  I have no clue."     (lower pro-verb)

    Shavaerdhi noh na asha'ille.            (ask for a subject)
    "Who speaks Asha'ille?"                 (lower subject pro-noun)

    Shavaerdhi aet na noh.                  (ask for an object)
    "You speak what?"                       (lower object pro-noun)

    Voh noh na noh.  (and the slangy equivalent |vohn'n| /vOn==/ )


[3]  In all ablaut-questions, |ne| _must_ be lowered if it is present in
the sentence.

[4]  Akin to an English-speaker saying "Hybbdeyhebuh?" or other such
gibberish when he didn't understand a word of what was spoken and is thus
very confused.

[5]  Expresses less confusion than the all-pro-forms sentence.  |Na| is
used when the listener didn't catch something but doesn't feel totally lost
and confused.

Taking pity on poor English natives (such as myself :) who don't feel like
it's a question until it has upward inflection at the end, I decided that
you can insert a dummy |'a| at the end of the entire phrase.  Therefore
asking "Do you speak Asha'ille?" could also be "Shavaerdhi aet na asha
ille'a?" in addition to the first example.

This implies that you can insert a dummy |'e| to the end of normal
sentences, like an English "um".  So the declarative sentence might
actually come out sounding like "Shavaerdhi aet ne asha ille'e" in casual
speech.  It should probably have upward inflection, too.


i                     u
 e                    o
  E                   O


 - the above chart catalogs phoneMes
 - /e/ offer dipthongizes into [ei]
 - [a] exists in the dipthong /ai/
 - some unstressed vowels can become [@], but not as much as in English
 - some dialects also contain [ { U V ], but they are a small minority.



H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Estel Telcontar <estel_telcontar@...>
Arthaey Angosii <arthaey@...>