Pig Latin/Lessons/7: Questions


Alright, here are some pretty important question words! You'll be using them quite a bit, so make sure you sear them into your mind nice and deep. There better be scorch marks at least 2cm into your brain, or you'll be in trouble.

  1. āōhāy: how
  2. ōerāy: where
  3. ōiāy: why
  4. hōāy: who
  5. ōenāy: when
  6. ōicāy: which

There you go! Basic question words. You can go ahead and use them just like in English, really. Well, with a few differences. Listen up:

Main ConceptEdit

Questions, to be honest, are pretty damn important. I mean, how'd you get around without them? I don't know. I mean, have you tried to live without them? "Do you mind?" versus "I'm sitting here." "How are you?" versus "Tell me how you are." "Do you have any plans later?" versus "Tell me your plans." I mean... I think the difference in tone is obvious. You can't really get information (unless sounding like a commanding jerk is alright with you) without them.

I've already gone over questions a tad bit-- but only with basic things like "what" and "how," it wasn't very cohesive or expressive. Here and now, though, you'll see their final form! Remember how to negate anything in Pig Latin you just add a "ny-" to the beginning? Sure, yea, of course you do. You do because you're a good, studious person, right? :) Well, if you don't, I'm not judging you (Mainly because I can't come in contact with you unless you initiate-- and frankly, I doubt you will). Well, the inquisitive prefix is rather similar. But, instead of a "ny-," you just use "y-." How nice and consistent, right?

Or, in pseudo-NAPL, "nice and consistent, yright?" How are you? "Yhow are you?" Where are you? "Ywhere are you?" True? "Ytrue?" You sleep? "You ysleep?"

I hope you noticed a couple patterns there (if not, maybe you should take another look. In particular, examine the words that have the "y-" prefix appended to them.), I really do. Probably not, though, so I'll spell them out for you:

  1. When lacking an adverb, adjective, or noun expanding on it, the verb has "y-" appended to it
  2. If the verb has an adjective, adverb, or noun expanding on it ("are good," "runs well," "is a book"), "y-" is appended to it
  3. If multiple words expand on the verb, then they all have "y-" appended to them
  4. When lacking a verb, append "y-" to whatever remains (ordinarily used only in sentence fragments)
  5. Direct objects and subjects (actors) don't have "y-" applied to them if there is a verb

TL;DR: If there is a verb, only the verb and words that expand on it get the "y-." Direct objects and subjects are ignored. If there is no verb, every word gets the "y-."

Now, let's use the question words from up there in some examples.


  1. Yāōhāy yār ēō? - How are you?
  2. Ēō yār ōelāy? - You are well?
  3. Ēō yunrayu? - You're running?
  4. Ēō yunrayu yōelāy? - You're running well?

These should help solidify the "when" of "y-" to you.

Note how in the second sentence, "Ēō yār ōelāy?", the adjective (ōelāy) lacks the prefix "y-", but in the fourth ("Ēō yunrayu yōelāy?") it has the prefix? That's because, like said in the rules above, direct objects don't have the "y-". In sentence #2, "ōelāy" is a direct object of yār-- in sentence #4, it is an adverb for the verb "yunrayu." The adverb expands on the verb, thus has the "y-", while the direct object is acted upon by the verb, and thus doesn't have the "y-".

Also take note of how "Ēō" doesn't have "y-" in any sentence. Because, according to the last rule, subjects/actors never have "y-" appended, unless they are used as an adverb or there is no verb in the sentence.

And, final note on these examples: "Yāōhāy" has "y-" because it expands on the verb. It clarifies it. You can ask, "Are you fish," but adding a "Why," "How," or some such thing would expand on the "Are," clarifying it.

  1. Yādrāy? - Rad?
  2. Yŝē? - Her?
  3. Ymīy yigpay? - My pig?

These are expressions of the fourth rule: sentence fragments. These are basically used only when briefly asking for clarification, or in quick response to something. For instance, you might say example #3 (Ymīy yigpay?) if someone said, "Ētāyu ēngťay." After all, you'd be concerned if they just said they'd "Eaten something." I mean, that's a pretty ominous sentence, honestly. So you ask for that clarification-- "My pig?" (Subtext: "Please God, don't let it be that they have eaten my pig; if that is the case, I will be devestated.")

Ditto for the first two fragments: they're each asking for clarification. Of course, that isn't the only type of sentence fragment that can be a question. It's just that I can't think of any other types right now. Oh well, you probably get it.

Frankly, I'm afraid I'm just confusing you more and more with all this over-explanation and disection with every example... When you were a child, you didn't learn Ojibwe (or whatever weird-ass language you were raised in) through rigorous study of the grammatical rules, did you? No, you learnt by trial, error, and observation. So how about you just observe the following examples, only thinking lightly of the rules I laid out earlier. Just try to absorb how I've written the examples.

  1. Yōuerāy ēō yivlāyu? - Where do you live?
  2. Yōuicāy yuntrēkay yivliyu? - Which country do you live in?
  3. Yhāōāy yētayi rsunpays? - How do they (singular) eat people?
  4. Ťays yunrayī ykōikāy? - They run quickly?
  5. Ŝē yītfayī ťē edrāy, uglīāy igpay? - She fights the red, ugly pig?
  6. Hōāy yōurītiyi yōuelāy atťay? - Who writes that well?

This is probably the most confusing lesson yet-- questions do take a little practice to get used to. Even for native NAPL speakers, it's a challenge to get right. Much like the distinction between "literally" and "literately" is difficult to get write for English speakers, NAPL speakers will often use too many or too few "y-" in their questions.

You might need some help on this subject... which is why I think this a prime opportunity to introduce you to the "official" NAPL chatroom.

Talk with other NAPLians!Edit

Ask questions, bother us, intrigue us-- feel free to do whatever you like. We especially would appreciate it if you tried speaking in NAPL as best as you can. Don't worry about getting everything right, just try expressing yourself, even if you completely botch a sentence. We'll kindly touch you into the right direction, to help you get a better understanding of this beautiful language. :)

The chatroom is #napl on IRC, the Freenode network. If you're not sure on what IRC is, check here. If you don't really care what it is and just want to start chatting with us, click here. I'm there 24/7 (AFK or not), and we'll try to answer any questions/participate in any banter or conversation whenever possible.

If you don't want to join a chatroom (eek! a social situation? how terrifying!), that's OK, too. You could just e-mail me for some conversations in basic NAPL, or for some questions on the subject. jadedctrl@teknik.io

Now, onto the bloody homework.


English to NAPLEdit

Remember to dot your i's and to add your y-'s!

Exercise 7.1
1) How do you run quickly?
2) Why do you do that to me?
3) Do you love me?
4) Are you there, my friend?
5) Why do you run so quickly?
Answers 7.1
1) Yāōhāy yunrayā ykōikāy?
2) Yōuīāy ydayā atťay tō mē?
3) Yuvlayā mē?
4) Yār erťay, mīy rendfay?
5) Yōuīyāy yunrayā ykōikāy?

NAPL to EnglishEdit

Now, let's do a little flip-flopping.

Exercise 7.1
1) Ītāyā ŝē-- yōūīāy?
2) Yōūtāy yōuāntayā rēnkdō?
3) Yōūerāy yis ťe tātsay?
4) Ydīiyā yōuerāy?
5) Ēō yār ōuelāy?
Answers 7.1
1) You fought her-- why?
2) What do you want to drink?
3) Where is the state?
4) Where'll you die?
5) You are well?