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Toaq with Ease

Jóko chỉetoaı – 4th Lesson

Sỏaq da. There’s a garden.
Tỉ sa pỏq sóaq da. In the garden are some people.
Kủeqtua hó shámu da. They are collecting the apples.
Tỉsha jí sóaq da. I arrive in the garden.
Kảqgaı kúeqtua jí da. The collectors see me.
Kủq sa shỉ mó « Pảqtao ba! » teo da. Someone says: “Take part!”
Tıu sỏa jí hó da. So I help them.
Kủeqtua jí da ru kủeqtua jí da. I collect and I collect.
Je nủaq da. It is night-time.
Ru sẻakuaı tu pỏq da. And everyone is exhausted.


  1. Sỏaq da “There is a garden”. We saw sentences of this form in Lesson 1. When a verb is used without any nouns, it describes a situation where something is or does the thing described by the verb, without saying what thing in particular. Recall Hỉaı da “There is laughing” from Lesson 1. Another example: Kỉa da “There is red.”

  2. sa pỏq “a person”, “somebody”, “some people”. sa before a verb makes an indefinite noun. We already encountered sa shỉ “someone”/”something” in the previous lesson. Compare this to póq, which would mean “the person” or “the people”.

  3. Let’s take a closer look at compounds and tone. kủeqtua “to gather/collect something” and shảmu “to be an apple” (shámu “the apple(s)”) are examples of compounds: verbs that are made up of two or more syllables. The tone marked on the first vowel is spread out over the entire word.

In writing, spaces helpfully mark where words start and end. When speaking, we always “break” the previous tone contour to mark the start of a new word. This means that shámu da is pronounced with a small drop on the da, to distinguish it from a would-be three-syllable compound shámuda. Similarly, kủeqtua da is pronounced with the da a little higher, to distinguish it from kủeqtuada.

  1. “he/she/they” is another pronoun. It refers to one or more people and is gender-neutral.

  2. Note how in English, we say “I arrive at/in the garden”, but tỉsha jí sóaq literally means “arrive I garden”. It is not necessary to use “at” or “in”. Whichever noun comes second is automatically understood to be the place of arrival.

  3. The function words and teo are placed around quoted text. Think of them as spoken quotation marks.

  4. With ba, we encounter our first partner of da. In Lesson 1 it was hinted at the fact that there are other particles like da for questions and imperatives – ba is used in expressing various kinds of imperatives. By placing ba at the end of a sentence (in place of da), the sentence is transformed into an imperative. An imperative with ba can be used to express requests and commands, but also invitations, permissions, exhortations and more.

  5. tıu “then, in that case” belongs to the same class as keo “but”. These words are known as sentence prefixes, because they are prefixed to a sentence. As such, they also function as unambiguous sentence breaks.

  6. je is another sentence prefix. Unlike keo and tıu, this one does not carry any additional meaning beyond marking the beginning of a new sentence. It is commonly used to mark breaks in speech or in text, like the beginning of a new paragraph or a new topic.

  7. tu pỏq “everyone”, “everybody”, “each person”. For now, remember this as a unit.



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