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Lesson 46
Embedded Questions


Vocabulary

bath

nail (body part); claw (body part)

desh

drug

–du

Suffix (Type-of-Sentence Word): said in poetry; reciting a poem (SH)

duth

to use

–hée

Suffix (embedded clause): Question Embedding marker

híyamesh

narrow [híya (small) + mesh (across)] {AB}

mezh

powder

shud

to be poor

shun

ritual; ceremony

wush

broom [onomatopoeia]

Once again in this vocabulary list we have a homonym for a word we already know: “bath” (nail; claw). And, once again, its semantic domain is sufficiently distinct from “bath” (six)—and, indeed, from “bath” (XLove1 + OBJ) that there should be no confusion.

Embedded Questions

This is another lesson on embedding one sentence inside another. In this lesson, the sentences we’ll be embedding are questions. To embed a question, add the suffix –hée to the last word in the embedded question.

Just as the English word “that” eases the translation of embedded declarative clauses, “if” or “whether” will ease the translation of embedded questions.

Examples

In the examples to follow, I will present the embedded sentence in [brackets] to make the topic more accessible. I’ll then present the English in progressively colloquial forms.

Bíi lothel le [noham lali]hée wa.

I know [has it finished raining?].
I know if/whether it has finished raining.

Bíi lothel ra le [noham lali]hée wa.

I don’t know [has it finished raining?].
I don’t know if/whether it has finished raining.

Báa lothel ne [noham lali]hée?

Do you know [has it finished raining?]?
Do you know if/whether it has finished raining?

The form of the “outer” sentence (inside which the question is embedded) may or may not, itself, be a question—as illustrated in the examples above.

Báa lothel bebáa [merahéthe muda]hé?

Who knows [the pigs are dirty]?
Who knows that the pigs are dirty?

Báa lothel bebáa [merahéthe muda]hée?

Who knows [are the pigs dirty?]?
Who knows if/whether the pigs are dirty?

To borrow from the exercises in the lesson covering embedded sentences, the first of the two above embeds the statement, “The pigs are dirty;” there’s no question that the pigs are dirty. The second, identical to the first except for the Embedding marker, throws this matter into doubt by embedding, as a question, “Are the pigs dirty?

Bíi oth [thi Ána nemeth]ehé wa.

Be important [Anna have a pearl].
It’s important that Anna have a pearl.

Bíi oth [thi Ána nemeth]ehée wa.

Be important [Does Anna have a pearl?].
It’s important if/whether Anna has a pearl.
Whether Anna has a pearl is important.

Báa oth [thi Ána nemeth]ehée?

Is [Does Anna have a pearl?] important?
Is whether Anna has a pearl important?
Is it important whether Anna has a pearl?

Stative verbs and intransitive verbs can take an embedded clause only as their Subject. “Oth” (to be important) here is one such; another is “shóo,” (to happen; to occur; to come to pass) as we saw in the lesson on embedded sentences.

Up until this point, all the example embedded clauses in this lesson feature Yes/No style questions. It’s just as feasible to use bebáa-form questions, as we’ll see in the following examples.

Bíi medibáa withizh [eril éthe bebáa shod lethoth wushenan]ehée wa.

The women ask [who/what cleaned my room with a broom?].
The women ask who cleaned my room with a broom.

Bíi medibáa withizh [eril éthe Máyel bebáath wushenan]ehée wa.

The women ask [Michael cleaned what with a broom?].
The women ask [what did Michael clean with a broom?].
The women ask what Michael cleaned with a broom.

Bíi medibáa withizh [eril éthe Máyel shod bebáathoth]ehée wa.

The women ask [Michael cleaned the room of whom with a broom?].
The women ask [whose room did Michael clean with a broom?].
The women ask whose room Michael cleaned with a broom.

Bíi medibáa withizh [eril éthe Máyel shod lethoth bebáanan]ehée wa.

The women ask [Michael cleaned my room using what?].
The women ask [what did Michael use to clean my room?].
The women ask what Michael used to clean my room.

In an earlier lesson, we came across the sentence “I know which child ate the fish,” which we couldn’t, at that point, translate. Now, however, we have the tools to translate it.

Bíi lothel le [eril yod bebáa thilith; háawith nedaba]hée wa.

I know [Who/what ate the fish? Which child?].
I know which child ate the fish.

Exercises

Translate the following into English.

1

Báa zhedi huhid memihí bodehée?

2

Bíi eril dibáa ra ehá dama háawith yumeth bebáananehée wáa.

3

Báa láad Mázhareth mebohí i mehíyamesh bod nisha nolehée(th) oyinan?

4

Bóo mehulanin nezh eril hahí lush marethu lelethuhée(th).

5

Bóo dibé ne lalom Ána bebáath háanáaleya eril; lometh nedabahéeth olowodedim.

6

Bíi aril wedeth ril mewéedan bedihá bebáathehée wa.

Turn the embedded statement into an embedded question. Translate into English before and after.

7

Bíi methózheláad wíitham aril duth shun sheshithehé(th) wáa.

8

Bíi en Elízhabeth eril im esh worahíyamesh womelasha meshehé(th) wa.

9

Bóo di na olob dumidal nath bathenanehé(th) duthahádim.

10

Báa om bebáa eril íthi wobun woshumath birethu thabeshinehé(th)?

11

Báa medom nen náthad amedara wobalin wohoninehé(th)?

12

Bíi ril héeya Ánetheni eril ham belid heneshahé wáa.


In #7, speaking/writing less formally, we would not need the verb “duth” in the embedded sentence/question. We could just as intelligibly state “Bíi methózheláad wíitham [aril shun sheshinan]ehé(e)(th) wáa.” Through the use of the Instrument Case “sheshinan” (rather than the Object Case “sheshith”) we would be providing the information that the ritual will use sand. Both versions will be understood.

Did the word “rahíyamesh” in #8 give you any difficulty? It’s simply the opposite of “híyamesh” (narrow); it means “wide” or “broad.”

In #10, did you note the idiomatic use of “bire” (layer) to refer to the storeys or floors of a building?

Apologies: the English translations of #12 are not clear. The distinction here, as in all of these, is whether there is any question that “eril ham belid henesha” (there was a house in the east). Hopefully, using the English word “lest” instead of the standard “if/whether” will make the sense of this sentence clearer.

Translate the following into Láadan.

13

For what purpose is it important whether, long ago, Someone created all-that-is?

14

Prithee state by what route the birds flew to the forest.

15

Prithee, beloved, demonstrate whether you love (with liking and respect) me.

16

Do you know how you will drink the drug when the physician gives it to you in tea with nectar?

17

No-one warned me whether the poor family was about to clean the building with a BROOM.

18

The philosopher tries to learn which book is correct.

How well did you do forming a word for “about to clean” in #17? We know “to clean:” “dóhéthe[dó– (cause to) + éthe (be clean)]. We simply add the prefix “thé–” (about to VERB, any minute), and there we are: “thédóhéthe.”

Speaking less formally in #17, “éthe” (be clean), if provided with an Object (as it is here), would be understood to mean “to clean;” the use of the prefix dó– (cause to) is formally correct but not absolutely necessary to be understood.

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Answers

1

Does the king agree (in word) whether the dishes are small (2D)?

2

The scientist did not ask what the child touched the beetle with.

3

Does Margaret see whether the lines upon the cup are short and narrow?

4

Prithee, you few, study whether the mystery of the absence of seaweed was brief.

5

Prithee swear to the group which song Anna sang yesterday evening.

6

It will be clear what the students are reading now.

 

7

The clergy have just reached consensus that the ritual will use sand.

Bíi methózheláad wíitham aril duth shun sheshithehée(th) wáa.

The clergy have just reached consensus whether the ritual will use sand.

8

Elizabeth understands that the boat traveled across the wide ocean.

Bíi en Elízhabeth eril im esh worahíyamesh womelasha meshehée(th) wa.

Elizabeth understands whether the boat traveled across the wide ocean.

9

Prithee, beloved, tell the healer that the fox injured you with (its) claws.

Bóo di na olob dumidal nath bathenanehée(th) duthahádim.

Prithee, beloved, tell the healer whether the fox injured you with (its) claws.

10

Who is teaching that the new tower with twenty storeys was tall?

Báa om bebáa eril íthi wobun woshumath birethu thabeshinehée(th)?

Who is teaching whether the new tower with twenty storeys was tall?

11

Prithee, you many, remember the old nurse can still dance.

Bóo medom nen náthad amedara wobalin wohoninehée(th).

Prithee, you many, remember whether the old nurse can still dance.

12

Anthony is afraid that there was a house in the east.

Bíi ril héeya Ánetheni eril ham belid heneshahée wáa.

Anthony is afraid lest there was a house in the east.

 

13

Báa oth eríli el Beye abeshehée(th) bebáawan?

14

Bóo dibíi ne eril meshumáad babí bebáasha ob olinedimehéeth.

15

Bóo dam na loláad na áamath ledimehée.

16

Báa ril lothel ne aril rilin ne desheth bebáanal úyahú ban eduthahá beth nedim zhusha nil homedenehée.

17

Bíi eril dibée rawith thédóhéthe woshud wohonida matheth wushehóonanehée(th) ledim wa.

18

Bíi dubedi ehená dóon bebáa; áabe nedabahée wáa.

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