Lesson 7 – introducing verb suffix {-'a'}:

do you understand?

Beginners, welcome!

Today we are going to learn how to ask yes/no questions - that is, questions that can only be answered with “yes” or “no”.

Let's take the below sentence as an example:
bIyaj'a'? = do you understand?

This breaks down into 3 parts:

  1. {bI-} = you--no object
    If you remember lesson 6, then you'll already know that {bI-} is the verb prefix used when the subject is singular you and there is no object (i.e. the verb is intransitive).

    Thus:
    bIlaD = you read
    bIHagh = you laugh
    bI'oj = you are thirsty

  2. {yaj} = understand
    {yaj} is a verb that can be used both with or without an object.

    jIyaj = I understand
    tlhIngan Hol vIyaj = I understand the Klingon language

    Notice the change in the prefix used depending on whether or not there is an object:

    {jI-} = I--no object(see it also in lesson 4)
    {vI-} = I--it(see it also in lesson 2)

  3. {-'a'} = interrogative suffix
    Adding the suffix {-'a'} to a verb turns the sentence into a yes / no question.

    Thus:
    bIyaj = you understand
    bIyaj'a'? = do you understand?

    The suffix {-'a'} can also be combined with other verb suffixes to make more elaborate questions.

    In this case, {-'a'} must always come after all the other verb suffixes.

    Thus:

    bIyajnIS'a'? = do you need to understand?(for more on {-nIS}, see lesson 5)
    bIyajbe''a'? = do you not understand?(for more on {-be'}, see lesson 3)
    bIyajnISbe''a'? = do you not need to understand? 

To reply to all these questions:
HISlaH / HIja' = yes (both words can be used interchangeably)
ghobe' = no

Now it's your turn!

Try and make yes/no questions. Here are a few verbs for inspiration:

laj = accept QeH = be angry SaH = care (about)
nID = try, attempt Dal = be boring ngor = cheat
mob = be alone yep = be careful wuQ = have a headache

Qapla'!

Prepared by Aurélie Demonchaux (ghItlhjaj)