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Toaq with Ease

Chíetoaı heıko – Lesson 10

Shadı. Zaı jí, ꝡä cho súq níaıbue da. Welcome. I hope you like the animal shelter.
Kıjı. Líqfu bï aojaı hó, ꝡä koe hó sá nıaı da. Thank you. (My) daughter wants to pick out an animal.
Ina. Puı níaı da. Nıtı sá kune rú sá kato da. Right. There are many animals. There are dogs and cats here.
Ma nıtı sá nıo móq? Are there young ones here?
Chı jí, ꝡä tı sá nıo da. I think there are some young ones.
Tıopuı bém móq? How many babies are there?
Enı: saq bém da. Look here: the babies are three.
Bu cho jí ní, hóı ába. Bu de ní da. Hıa báq habı móq? I don’t like those, father. They are not beautiful. How about birds?
Em, bu moaq jí, mä nıtı sá habı da… Um, I don’t remember whether there are birds…
Tıu tua súq, ꝡä kaqgaı íme káto ba. Then show us the cats.
Kaqgaı súq ní doa. Tı sá kuo rú sá bao rú sá naraq da. Mıu súq hí raı móq? See here. There are black ones, white ones and orange ones. What do you think?
Loı jí báq kato da. I hate cats.
Kushe. Joaı jí báq habı ba. I am sorry. Let me look for birds.
Kıjı. Aojaı jí, ꝡä jai líqfu da. Thank you. I want (my) daughter to be happy.
Ma cho súq ní móq? Koruo ní da. Do you like this one? This is a raven.
Aıka, le, ꝡä bu huı hó da. I guess it’s probably not bad.
Je hí raı nä aojaı súq, ꝡä chua ráı hó móq? What would you like its name to be?
Chua hí raı béı súq móq? What is your name?
Shú Tomı! Tommy!
Tıu bu hao shú Tomı. Then not Tommy.


  1. The compound lıqfu “to be a daughter” has the components lıq “to be female”, and fu “to be a child (of someone)”.

  2. Tıopuı is another verb question. While hıa asks what something is, tıopuı asks how many things a given expression refers to. In Toaq, instead of asking “How many babies are there?”, we ask “How numerous are the babies”, Tıopuı bém moq?.

  3. Enı is an interjection meaning “here, take this / look at this”. Number verbs express the numerosity of a thing: Saq bém “The babies are three in number”.

  4. We already met mama “to be a mother”. Now we meet aba “to be a father”.

  5. báq, like and , turns a verb into a noun. The noun it creates refers generically to the kind of thing the verb describes. báq habı means simply “birds”, as opposed to any particular bird.

  6. This sentence showcases another indirect question, but instead of ꝡä … hí it uses . , with a glottal tone , is the content clause version of ma, and can be translated as “whether”. mä nıtı sá habı “whether some birds are here”.

  7. This sentence is a great example of how much you can already achieve with the little grammar we have introduced. Tua súq, ꝡä kaqgaı íme káto literally means “you make it the case that we see the cats”, which uses the power of paraphrase to express “you show us the cats”. Using such tricks, we can express things we don’t know the words for. We will also learn easier and shorter ways to say such things soon.

  8. We see béı again, which adds emphasis to the following word.

  9. shú is used to quote and refer to the following word. shú Tomı means “the word ‘Tommy’”. An important semantic point here is that the correct way to say “My name is Tommy” is Chua shú Tomı jí da, and not Chua mí Tomı jí da. The word ‘Tommy’ itself is the name. Chua mí Tomı jí da would mean “My name is something named Tommy”, that is, the name has a name!

  10. The word hao can stand in for any verb the speaker has in mind. Here, Tıu bu hao shú Tomı literally means “Then ‘Tommy’ isn’t/doesn’t you-know-what”, or more naturally “then not Tommy”.



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