Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

"Question Tags" they are important, aren't they?

You have words - now what do you do with them?

"Question Tags" they are important, aren't they?

Postby eberntson » Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:25 pm

COuld you explain these? In school, I beleive I always got points for for these. There are other languages that that only indicate a question at the end, aren't there?
User avatar
eberntson
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 10:48 am
Location: Boston, Mass

Postby Apoclima » Fri Feb 11, 2005 2:20 am

It can be done in Vietnamese with a interrogative particle for simple statements.

In Vietnamese, simple questions are formed

1. by adding a question word (interrogative particle) to the end of some statements, thus forming a question
2. by using a question word made up of two particles with other statements: one optional particle preceding the verb, while the other (particle) goes at the end of the statement, thus forming a question.


There are probably other languiages that do this too!

Lesson Two

Apoclima
'Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination.' -Max Planck
User avatar
Apoclima
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 556
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:00 pm

Re: "Question Tags" they are important, aren't the

Postby Stargzer » Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:06 pm

eberntson wrote:COuld you explain these? In school, I beleive I always got points for for these. There are other languages that that only indicate a question at the end, aren't there?


C'est la même chose en français, n'est-ce pas? Si!

Oops. By "only" you did mean that is the only way to form a question, didn't you? If so, that rules out French, as well as English.
User avatar
Stargzer
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2551
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:56 pm
Location: Crownsville, MD

Postby anders » Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:58 am

Chinese is very flexible in this department as well. The two most common ways to signal a question are, like, "You all right huh?", and "You all right not right?".

When translating from English, I normally can skip the tag, or replace it by a final "va?" ('huh?'), in more colloquial styles.

To show the difference between US English and German/Swedish when translating, I sometimes use the example "Now please press button A", which in German would be "A drücken", Swedish "Tryck på A".
Irren ist männlich
anders
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:46 am
Location: Sweden

Postby Flaminius » Fri Feb 18, 2005 7:23 am

Japanese is very draconic about question marker. In order to say, "Where is your home?" one needs a Wh-word and the question marker at the end of the sentence.

あなたの家はどこですか。
anata-no ie-wa doko desu ka
You-GEN house-TOPIC where EXIST Q.

Wh-words are not fronted but remain in situ of the indicative sentence.
anata-no ie-wa koko desu.
You-GEN house-TOPIC here EXIST.
Flaminius
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:36 am

Postby anders » Fri Feb 18, 2005 7:41 am

Seems to be very different from Chinese. In most cases, you can make a Chinese question out of an indicative by adding the particle "ma" at the end of the sentence, changing nothing else. If you use a question word, you mustn't use the "ma" marker.

And for the homework for Monday, there's the intriguing way of "turning round" question words, so that, using them in indicative mood, "who?" beomes "anyone", "what?" becomes "anything" etc.

Shei renshi ta?
谁 认识 他?
Who know him
Who knows him?

Shei dou renshi ta.
谁 都 认识 他
Who all know him?
Everybody knows him.

Shei dou bu renshi ta
谁 都 不 认识 他
Who all not know him
Nobody knows him.
Irren ist männlich
anders
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:46 am
Location: Sweden

Postby Flaminius » Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:23 am

Japanese can play nearly the same trick, meine anders.

1. Wh + Q (-ka) + CASE MARKER = EXISTENTIAL (someone, sometime, something etc.)

But there are other ones:
2. Wh + -mo/demo + CASE MARKER = ALL (everyone, all the time, all the things etc.)
3. Wh + mo . . . . NEGATIVE (nai) # = ALL-NOT (no one, never, nothing etc.) [# marks sentential boundary]
4. Wh + Q + CASE MARKER . . . . NEGATIVE # = EXISTENTIAL-NOT [but usually NOT-ALL] (some people don't, sometimes it doesn't happen, somethings are not, etc.)

Examples are:
1. dare-ka ga tabeta.
Wh-Q NOM eat-PAST (Somebody ate.)
2. dare-mo ga tabeta.
Wh-mo NOM eat-PAST (Everyone ate.)
3. dare-mo tabe nakatta.
Wh-mo eat (ROOT) NEGATIVE-PAST (None ate.)
4. dare-ka ga tabe nakatta.
Wh-Q ga eat (ROOT) NEGATIVE-PAST (Somebody didn't eat.)
Flaminius
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:36 am

Postby Brazilian dude » Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:29 pm

I see we can use funny letters here ね.
Я весёлый.

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

Postby Garzo » Sun Feb 20, 2005 8:38 am

Asking questions is one thing: tag questions are something else, aren't they?

I think the idea is a discourse marker. We use tag questions because we make a statement and wish to ellicit a response from someone, don't we?

It is interesting to look at when we use a negative tag (isn't it?), and when we use a positive one (is it?). The verbs we can use in English to make tag questions have to be capable of being operators: be, have, do, can/could, may/might, must, shall/should, will/would, dare, need and ought. The choice of verb is based on that used in the statement. If none of these is used in the statement, then do has to, well...do!
"Poetry is that which gets lost in translation" — Robert Frost
Garzo
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: A place to cross the river Thames with your Oxen

Postby Flaminius » Sun Feb 20, 2005 11:56 am

Garzo
It is interesting to look at when we use a negative tag (isn't it?), and when we use a positive one (is it?).

This makes me think tag questions are a subset of rhetorical questions.

How do they score in terms of formality/politeness by the way? Do you find more tag questions in formal speaches than in casual ones or vice versa? Or is there no difference? I have read an article pointing out that men tend to use tag questions more than women, contrary to the wide-spread perception.

F
Flaminius
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 4:36 am

Postby Brazilian dude » Sun Feb 20, 2005 2:12 pm

I hardly ever use tag questions. I don't need nobody to confirm whatever I said. Me saying it is enough, ain't it? :D

Brazilian dude
Languages rule!
Brazilian dude
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1464
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Botucatu - SP Brazil

question andd answer

Postby KatyBr » Sun Feb 20, 2005 2:26 pm

something I hear on British comedies all the time:

Violet:"Harvy, Why don't you never get me anything"
Harvy: "I was buying you a nice big Valentine's heart box now, wasn't I?"

That is a weird question tag, it both assumes the other's precognitive understanding, and 'cleans up one's bad rep' unearned.

Katy
KatyBr
Senior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 959
Joined: Thu Feb 10, 2005 5:28 pm

Postby Garzo » Mon Feb 21, 2005 7:10 pm

I think Flam's right: tag questions do have an air of informality about them. As a tag question is a demand for a response, it can be considered impolite.

As discourse markers, tag questions are very flexible. In Katy's example, the tag question is demand for the hearer to re-examine their opinion.

Usually, if the statement is positive, the tag will be negative:
'I turned the cooker of, didn't I?'
If the statement is negative, the tag will be positive:
'I don't snore, do I?'

Those examples seek confirmation ('I'm sure the fire crew are just late for their dinner, darling?'), or at least sound evidence to the contrary ('Well, I did make this recording last night.')

In arguments, though, taggers can be tigers:
'What have you done to our kitchen?'
'And that's the thanks I get for cooking you a three-course romantical dinner, is it?'

-> Garzo, am I?
"Poetry is that which gets lost in translation" — Robert Frost
Garzo
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 8:22 pm
Location: A place to cross the river Thames with your Oxen

Postby anders » Tue Feb 22, 2005 1:20 pm

Discourse markers didn't exist forty years ago when I had my first encounters with university linguistics. Nowadays they seem to constitute a politically very correct field of research. In spite of this, I hope that I some day will have enough spare time to read up on the subject.
Irren ist männlich
anders
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 405
Joined: Wed Feb 16, 2005 7:46 am
Location: Sweden

Postby M. Henri Day » Fri Feb 25, 2005 1:09 pm

anders wrote:... In most cases, you can make a Chinese question out of an indicative by adding the particle "ma" at the end of the sentence, changing nothing else.

But as Anders also pointed out earlier, Chinese exhibits an intriguing flexibility as regards the interrrogative. Thus /verbal/bu=不/verbal/ where /verbal/ includes adjectives as well is a very frequent pattern : 行不行 ? 你去不去 ? 你好不好 ? In classical Chinese, special negative particles, like 非 and 否 (Flam will recognise them from his 漢文 studies) are used for this purpose, something like (but not always as «taggy», to pervert Garzo's terminology) the «is it not», «n'est-ce pas» «nicht wahr», «inte sant» of other languages, but they are not restricted to final positions in a a predicate, nor are they always - or mainly - rhetorical. Thus the second and third graphs in my tagline below - 记否 - correspond, to «remember» and «not», respectively, and together pose the question which I have translated «Do you [yet = 曾] remember ?»....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
M. Henri Day
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1142
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:24 am
Location: Stockholm, SVERIGE

Next

Return to Grammar

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests