a) Questions in direct speech
1. Direct speech with interrogatives
Interrogative sentences are introduced by a question word in direct speech. There are simple and prepositional interrogatives.
1) Simple interrogatives
The most important question words are:
Examples of the use of the above question words in direct speech:
Count and mass nouns are distinguished in questions as in English. Countable nouns combine with kmo ܟܡܐ “how many?” and uncountable nouns with mëqqa ܡܷܩܩܰܐ “how much?”.
The copula (G.4b; G.12a) as in for example: Man yo u Yacqub? ܡܰܢ ܝܐ ܐܘ ܝܰܥܩܘܒ؟ “Who is Yacqub?” immediately follows the interrogative, as you can also tell from the above examples.
2) Prepositional interrogatives
The above interrogatives can combine with the prepositions b ܒـ “in”, l ܠـ “for, to”, m ܡـ “from, out of” and cal ܥܰܠ “on”. The most frequent ones are:
The interrogatives layko ܠܰܝܟܐ and mayko ܡܰܝܟܐ are written as one word.
The question word l ema ܠܐܶܡܰܐ “till when?” can be extended with the preposition hul ܗܘܠ “until” into hul l ema ܗܘܠ ܠܐܶܡܰܐ without a change in meaning: Hul l ema fayiši bu Swed? ܗܘܠ ܠܐܶܡܰܐ ܦܰܝـܝܫܝ ܒܘ ܣܘܶܕ؟ “Until when did they stay in Sweden?“
2. Direct speech without interrogative
Interrogative sentences can also be formed without a question word. In that case you can tell from the intonation that you are dealing with a question. People generally raise the pitch of their voice at the end of an interrogative sentence. Yes/No-questions and choice questions belong to this group:
The question particle ma ܡܰܐ can be used to introduce yes/no-questions. There is no direct English equivalent of ma ܡܰܐ:
2) Choice questions:
b) Questions in indirect speech
Interrogative sentences are introduced by be ܒܶܐ in indirect speech:
The particle be ܒܶܐ, however, can also be omitted in indirect speech when combined with one of the above interrogatives:
c) Presentative kale
The presentative copula kale ܟܰܠܶܗ “look, there (he) is” is inflected by means of the L-suffixes:
Unlike the other L-suffixes (G.8a), this particle takes a 2nd pl. suffix loxu ܠܳܟ݂ܘ.. The stress is always on the last syllable. Kale ܟܰܠܶܗ is used in verbal and non-verbal sentences. In both cases the focus is on the observed situation in the present.
1. kale ܟܰܠܶܗ in non-verbal clauses
Kale ܟܰܠܶܗ functions like the copula in non-verbal clauses and expresses the present assertively drawing the listener’s attention (“Look here/there!”):
Kale ܟܰܠܶܗ often combines with participles (non-finite verbal forms) of position and motion verbs:
2. kale ܟܰܠܶܗ in verbal clauses
Kale ܟܰܠܶܗ can be used in combination with present and preterite verbal forms, particularly to indicate that the situation is still in progress or happened recently:
d) Other negative particles
1. haw ܗܰܘ and law ܠܰܘ „not anymore“
The invariant particles haw ܗܰܘ and law ܠܰܘ “not anymore, no longer” are synonymous and follow the same rules as lo ܠܐ (see G.22c):
2. Combinations with lo ܠܐ.
Negative predicates that start with lo ܠܐ (see G22.c) can be extended by adding the particles hič ܗܝܫ̰ and bë ḥḏo naqla ܒܷܚܕ݂ܐ ܢܰܩܠܰܐ (“not ever”, “not at all”, “absolutely/certainly not”) and të ܬܷܐ (“not any at all”) to draw the listener’s attention to the negation by making it absolute.
1) Examples with hič ܗܝܫ̰:
2) Examples with bë ḥḏo naqla ܒܷܚܕ݂ܐ ܢܰܩܠܰܐ:
You can use both particles hič ܗܝܫ̰ and bë ḥḏo naqla ܒܷܚܕ݂ܐ ܢܰܩܠܰܐ interchangeably without a distinction in meaning.
3) Examples with të ܬܷܐ:
The particle të ܬܷܐ can only be used together with nouns. Hič ܗܝܫ̰ can also be used instead of të ܬܷܐ.