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◀️ Travel Destinations — Previous Lesson Next Lesson — Negating Sentences ▶️

Southern SothoGrammar0 to A1 Course → Questions and Negation → Asking Questions

Introduction[edit | edit source]

In this lesson, we will explore the topic of asking questions in Southern Sotho. Questions are an essential part of communication, allowing us to gather information, seek clarification, and engage in meaningful conversations. We will cover different types of questions, including yes/no questions, wh-questions, and question tags. By the end of this lesson, you will have a solid understanding of how to form questions in Southern Sotho and be able to confidently engage in conversations with native speakers.

Yes/No Questions[edit | edit source]

Let's start by looking at how to form yes/no questions in Southern Sotho. These types of questions are called "ho bala le ho bina" questions, where "ho" is the verb prefix indicating an action is being performed and "bala" means "to read" and "bina" means "to write". To form a yes/no question, you need to change the word order and add the question particle "na" at the end of the sentence.

Here are a few examples:

Southern Sotho Pronunciation English
U bala? oo bah-lah Do you read?
O bina? oh bee-nah Do you write?
Ha ke bina? hah kee bee-nah Don't I write?
A re na bala? ah ray nah bah-lah Is he/she reading?
Re le bina? ray lay bee-nah Are we writing?
Ba bala? bah bah-lah Do they read?

As you can see, when forming yes/no questions, the subject pronoun comes after the verb, and the question particle "na" is added at the end of the sentence.

Wh-Questions[edit | edit source]

Now let's move on to forming wh-questions in Southern Sotho. Wh-questions are used to ask for specific information such as who, what, where, when, why, and how. To form a wh-question, you need to use the appropriate interrogative word, change the word order, and add the question particle "na" at the end of the sentence.

Here are some examples:

Southern Sotho Pronunciation English
Ke mang? keh mahng Who am I?
U rata eng? oo rah-tah ehng What do you like?
U ya kae? oo yah kah-eh Where are you going?
Ke ya neng? keh yah nehng When am I going?
U fihla joang? oo fee-lah joh-ahng How do you arrive?
O kopana le mang? oh koh-pah-nah leh mahng Who are you meeting with?

In wh-questions, the interrogative word comes at the beginning of the sentence, followed by the verb and the subject pronoun. The question particle "na" is added at the end of the sentence.

Question Tags[edit | edit source]

Question tags are short questions added at the end of a statement to seek confirmation or agreement. In Southern Sotho, question tags are formed by adding the particle "he?" or "ho?" at the end of the statement.

Here are some examples:

Southern Sotho Pronunciation English
Ke bala, he? keh bah-lah, heh I am reading, aren't I?
U bina, ho? oo bee-nah, hoh You are writing, aren't you?
Oya kae, ho? oh-yah kah-eh, hoh You are going, aren't you?
Ke ya neng, he? keh yah nehng, heh I am going, aren't I?
U fihla joang, ho? oo fee-lah joh-ahng, hoh How do you arrive, don't you?
O kopana le mang, ho? oh koh-pah-nah leh mahng, hoh You are meeting with who, aren't you?

In question tags, the particle "he?" or "ho?" is added at the end of the statement. The choice between "he?" and "ho?" depends on the verb that precedes it. If the verb ends with a vowel, "ho?" is used; otherwise, "he?" is used.

Cultural Insight[edit | edit source]

In Southern Sotho culture, asking questions is an important part of communication. It demonstrates curiosity, engagement, and a desire to learn. Southern Sotho people are known for their warm and welcoming nature, and asking questions is seen as a way to show interest and build connections with others. It is common to ask questions about someone's family, background, and interests to get to know them better. Additionally, Southern Sotho culture places a strong emphasis on respect, so it is important to ask questions politely and listen attentively to the responses.

Practice Exercises[edit | edit source]

Now it's time to practice what you've learned. Try to form questions based on the given prompts and provide the corresponding answers. Don't forget to use the correct word order, question particles, and interrogative words.

1. Prompt: U rata eng? (What do you like?)

  Answer: Ke rata phoka.

2. Prompt: U ya kae? (Where are you going?)

  Answer: Ke tla Roma.

3. Prompt: U fihla joang? (How do you arrive?)

  Answer: Ke fihla ka motokwa.

4. Prompt: O kopana le mang? (Who are you meeting with?)

  Answer: Ke kopana le ntate.

5. Prompt: Ke bala, he? (I am reading, aren't I?)

  Answer: Ee, o bala.

6. Prompt: U bina, ho? (You are writing, aren't you?)

  Answer: Ha, ha ke bina.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Congratulations! You have successfully learned how to form different types of questions in Southern Sotho. You can now confidently ask yes/no questions, wh-questions, and use question tags in your conversations. Remember to practice regularly to reinforce your knowledge and improve your fluency. Asking questions is a valuable skill that will greatly enhance your communication abilities in Southern Sotho.

Keep up the great work and continue exploring the fascinating world of the Southern Sotho language and culture!

Table of Contents - Southern Sotho Course - 0 to A1[edit source]

Introduction to Southern Sotho

Greetings and Introductions

Nouns and Pronouns

Numbers and Time

Verbs and Tenses

Everyday Activities

Adjectives and Adverbs

Food and Dining

Southern Sotho Traditions

Travel and Transportation

Questions and Negation

Shopping and Money

Southern Sotho Family Life

Other Lessons[edit | edit source]

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