Introducing yourself

Dialog

☻: te si ke? = Who are you?
☺: me si yusef. te si ke? = I am Yusef. Who are you?
☻: me si maria. le si ke? = I am Maria. Who is that?
☺: le si mi doste. = That is my friend.
☻: li nam si ke? = What's her name?
☺: li nam si sara. = Her name is Sara.

Grammar

Pandunia's sentences normally follow the topic-comment structure. The topic indicates who or what is being talked about. The comment tells something about the topic. For instance in le si mi doste the topic is the pronoun le (he, she, it), which is followed by the comment si mi doste (is my friend).

In Pandunia, the word si functions like to be in English. The same word is used for all persons. And to say the opposite, simply replace it with ni (which is the word for no).

le si sara. = She is Sara.
le ni sara. = She is not Sara.

maw si hewan = The cat is an animal.
dom ni hewan = The house is not an animal.

In the same way you can describe yourself by saying me and a word that describes you.

me bon. = I'm good.
me man. = I'm a man.
me fem. = I'm a woman.

Exercises

Try translating these sentences from English to Pandunia. The correct answers are after the word list.

  1. Who are you?
  2. I am Thomas.
  3. Who is your friend?
  4. She is Sara.
  5. What is your name?
  6. My name is ...........

Word List

me I, me. mi my.
te you. ti your.
le he, she or it. li his, her, its.
ke who or what.
si to be (am, is, are, etc)
si yes. ni no, not.
bon good. doste friend. nam name.
fem woman. man man.
maw cat. hewan animal.

Answers to the Exercises

  1. te si ke?
  2. me si tomas.
  3. ti doste si ke?
  4. le si sara.
  5. ti nam si ke?
  6. mi nam si ...........

Saying hello

salam = Hello!

This is how people greet each other in Pandunia. They say salam. It is used for saying both hello and goodbye.

salam = Bye!

The word salam means "greeting". It is originally an Arabic word, which means peace, and it is a common greeting in many parts of the world, especially in Africa and Asia. Pandunia is a constructed world language, which borrows words from all parts of the world.

The verb form of salam is salama, which means "to greet".

me salama te. = I greet you.
te salama me. = You greet me.

These are active sentences. In active sentences the subject does the action to the object. In me salama te the first word, me, is the subject, salama is the verb (action word), and te is the object. The order of subject, verb and object is the normal word order in Pandunia.

Word order in active sentence: Subject + Verb + Object

Pandunia's personal pronouns are: me = I, te = you, and le = he, she, it. Note that the pronouns stayed the same in the previous example sentences. Words never change in Pandunia. They always stay the same regardless of their position in sentence.

In Pandunia sentences can be made shorter by leaving out pronouns that are obvious in the present situation.

me salama te! = I greet you.
salama te! = Greetings to you! (It is obvious that the speaker is the one who greets.)
salama! = Greeting! (It is obvious that the listeners are greeted.)
salam! = Hello!

The pattern in salam te is convenient for addressing people by name, kinship term or profession.

salam toni! = Hello, Tony!
salam mame! = Hello, mother!
salam pape! = Hello, father!
salam xefe! = Hello, chief!

Another Pandunia word for greeting is halo'. It is also a very international greeting. You can choose freely, which word to use when you greet people.

halo'! = Hello!

Exercises

Try translating these sentences from English to Pandunia. The correct answers are after the word list.

  1. You greet him/her.
  2. Mother greets father.
  3. Hello, mother!
  4. Goodbye!

Word List

salam, halo' greeting, hello, hi, salaam, ciao, etc. salama to greet.
mame mother, mom. pape father, dad. xefe chief, boss.

Answers to the Exercises

  1. te salama le.
  2. mame salama pape.
  3. salam mame!
  4. salam!

Making requests

Dialog

☻: salam! = Hello!
☺: salam! bita sida. = Hello! Please sit!
☻: danke. = Thank you.
☺: bita nyama kafe u cay. = Please have some coffee or tea.
☻: me nyama cay. danke. = I will have some tea, thank you.
...
☺: bita salama ti mame! = Please tell greetings to your mother.
☻: me salama le. salam! = I will. Bye!
☺: salam! = Bye!

Grammar

Pandunia's personal pronouns are: me = I, te = you, and le = he, she, it. Pandunia is a gender-neutral language. It doesn't distinguish between sexes in the third person pronoun or any of the pronouns. All the personal pronouns are present in the following example sentence.

me bita te salama le. = I ask you to say hello to him/her.

This sentence has a pivot structure. The first verb, bita = to request, addresses te as its object. At the same time te serves also as the subject of the second verb, salama = to greet, whose object is le. So te has a double role: (1) object of the first verb and (2) subject of the second verb. Hence, it is the pivot or hinge between the two verbs.

Pivot Stucture: Subject + Verb¹ + Object/Subject + Verb² + Object

The pivot structure is a common structure in Pandunia.

Remember that it is allowed to leave out pronouns that are known in the context. In other words the speaker can safely assume that the listeners know who he or she is talking about. So it is unnecessary to keep on repeating them. In this manner phrases can be made shorter.

me bita te salama le. = I ask you to say hello to him/her.
bita salama le. = Please say hello to him/her.

See how the translation of bita changed between the two sentences? The meaning of the word, the concept, did not change, but its use did. English reflects this change by using different words, to ask and please. Pandunia can cope with changes like this without resorting to different words. It is a principle in Pandunia that there is always exactly one word for one concept. Different words are not created just because the grammatical role of a concept changes.

The phrase bita salama le has a useful pattern that can be used for making polite requests.

bita sida. = Please be seated.
bita dona kafe. = Please give me some coffee.
bita dona cay. = Please give me some tea.
bita nyama cay. = Please have some tea.
bita safa kamar. = Please clean the room.

Commands are introduced with orda = to command. They employ the same pivot structure as requests with bita.

orda dona cay. = Give (me) some tea!
orda safa kamar. = Clean the room!

In practice, direct commands can be also made with just one verb and a commanding voice.

safa le! = Clean it!

Exercises

Try translating these sentences from English to Pandunia.

  1. He drinks tea.
  2. The boss asked her to sit down.
  3. Please have some coffee or tea.
  4. Mother asked me to clean the room.
  5. The boss sits and drinks coffee.

Word List

cay tea. bita to ask; please. dona to give. danke thanks. i and. kafe coffee. kamar room. orda to order, to command. u or. safa to clean. sida to sit. nyama to eat or drink.

Answers to the Exercises

  1. le nyama cay.
  2. xefe bita le sida.
  3. bita nyama kafe u cay.
  4. mame bita me safa kamar.
  5. xefe sida i nyama kafe.

Yes or no questions

Dialog

☻: salam! eska te nyama kafe u cay? = Hello! Would you like to have coffee or tea?
☺: cay. = Tea.
☻: i te? = And you?
○: me ni baxa pandunia... = I don't speak Pandunia...
☻: pardon! eska le nyama cay? = Pardon! Will he have tea?
☺: ni. le ni nyama cay. le nyama kafe. = No, he won't. He would like to have coffee.
☻: eska te nyama supe? = Would you like to have soup?
☺: nyama. = Yes. (I eat.)
☻: eska le nyama supe? = Would he like to have soup?
☺: ni nyama. = No.
☻: danke. me dona un cay i un kafe i un supe sa bade yu des minute. = Thank you. I will bring one tea, one coffee and one soup in ten minutes.

Asking questions

Questions that can be answered by saying yes or no have the same pivot structure as requests with bita, which you learned in the previous lesson. Question sentences are introduced with eska = to ask.

me eska te nyama cay. = I ask (do) you drink tea.
eska te nyama cay? = Do you drink tea?
eska nyama cay? = Drink tea?

Requests usually concern the one or the ones spoken to, but questions are often about other people. Therefore the second pronoun is usually needed. It can be left out only when it is clear who is the topic of discussion.

eska le nyama cay? = Does he or she drink tea?
eska te nyama supe? = Do you eat soup?
eska mome nyama suy? = Do we drink water?

Of course common and proper nouns can also be used.

eska xefe nyama kafe? = Does the chief drink coffee?
eska pape safa kamar? = Does the father clean the room?
eska niki baxa pandunia? = Does Nicky speak Pandunia?

Giving answers

Yes/no questions can be answered with si = yes, and ni = no.

eska te nyama supe? = Do you eat soup?
si. = Yes.
eska le nyama supe? = Does she eat soup?
ni. = No.

Also more complete answers can be given.

eska te nyama kafe? = Do you drink coffee?
si. me nyama kafe. = Yes, I drink coffee.
eska le nyama kafe? = Does he drink coffee?
ni. le ni nyama kafe. = No, he doesn't drink coffee.

It is also possible to answer yes by repeating the main verb of the question.

eska te nyama suy? = Do you drink water?
nyama. = (Yes, I) drink.

Exercises

Try translating these sentences from English to Pandunia.

  1. Do you speak Pandunia?
  2. Yes, I speak Pandunia.
  3. Does the mother drink coffee?
  4. No, she doesn't drink coffee.
  5. Does she eat soup?
  6. She doesn't.

Word List

bade after. pardon pardon, sorry. minute minute. ni not. baxa speak a language. suy water. supe soup. un one (1). des ten. eska to ask a question. si yes.

Answers to the Exercises

  1. eska te baxa pandunia?
  2. si. me baxa pandunia.
  3. eska mame nyama kafe?
  4. ni. le ni nyama kafe.
  5. eska le nyama supe?
  6. (le) ni nyama.

Saying no

In the previous lesson you learned to answer si and ni to questions. The word ni is used for denying something. Adding ni in front of the verb turns an affirmative sentence to negative.

me salama te. = I greet you.
me ni salama te. = I do not greet you.

Conceptually negation means the absence or non-existence of the negated word. In the phrase me ni salama te the negative word ni denies the existence of greeting. In Pandunia the negative word affects the word that follows it. Different scopes of negation may result depending on the location of the negative word.

me bita te safa kamar. = I ask you to clean the room.
me ni bita te safa kamar. = I do NOT ask you to clean the room.
me bita te ni safa kamar. = I ask you NOT to clean the room.

The negated word can be of any type: verb, pronoun, noun, adjective and even numeral.

le ni soya maw. = She doesn't have a cat.
le soya ni maw, a waf. = She has no cats but dogs.
ni le, a me soya maw. = Not she but I have cats.
me soya ni un, a dul maw. = I have not one but two cats.

Exercises

Translate these sentences from English to Pandunia. Sometimes there is more than one correct answer.

  1. He didn't clean the room.
  2. One cup is not empty.
  3. Two dogs don't eat soup.
  4. She has neither dogs nor cats.
  5. The chief drinks tea but not coffee.
  6. The mother has no dogs but (she has) two cats.

Word List

kupe cup, glass, mug. hali empty. soya to have. maw cat. waf dog. dul two. nol zero. a but.

Answers to the Exercises

  1. le ni safa kamar.
  2. un kupe ni hali.
  3. dul waf ni nyama supe.
  4. le ni soya waf i maw. / le soya ni waf i ni maw.
  5. xefe nyama cay a ni kafe.
  6. mame soya ni waf a dul maw.

More Questions

To ask questions beginning with what, which, how, who and when, the interrogative pronoun ki is normally used. The question can be made more specific by adding words for person, time, manner or thing if needed.

le si ke? = What is that? / Who is (s)he?
ki ren laya? = Who is coming? (ren = person)
ki zaman te nyama? = When do you eat? (zaman = time)
ki yang dansa? = How to dance? (yang = manner, style)

In Pandunia, questions beginning with why are asked using ke saba.

ke saba te suku maw? = Why do you like cats?

Questions asking about the cause or reason of something, are answered by adding sabu before the cause or reason. sabu is actually a passive verb meaning to be caused by.

ke saba te suku maw? = Why do you like cats?
sabu lole kaway. = Because they are cute.

Of course sabu can also be used to express the cause or reason for something, even when not answering to a question.

me suku maw sabu lole kaway = I like cats because they are cute.

Exercises

  1. Who likes soup?
  2. The father does.
  3. When will he come?
  4. In ten minutes
  5. Why doesn't she eat?
  6. Because she doesn't like coffee or soup.

Word List

dansa to dance. laya to come. ren person. suku to like. yang manner, style. zaman time.

Answers to the Exercises

  1. ki ren suku supe?
  2. pape suku.
  3. ki zaman le laya?
  4. sa bade yu des minute.
  5. ke saba le ni nyama?
  6. sabu le ni suku kafe u supe.

Past, present and future

Expressing time

There are no verb conjugations in Pandunia. All verbs have only one form for all times. In a way they are similar to some English verbs, such as "to hit", which is the same in all tenses.

me darba le. = I hit it.

In Pandunia all verbs are like that! For example, me nyama pang can mean both "I eat bread" and "I ate bread", but usually only one or the other meaning makes sense in the context of the discussion. For example when people talk about that morning's breakfast, the sentence tells about the past time.

me nyama pang sa subi nyam. = I ate bread for morning meal.

There are also specific time words.

gang = just, recently
zay = currently, at the moment
hay = still
sun = soon
wil = later, in the future

The adjectives for past, present and future are pas, zay and wil. They can be used for modifying nouns.

sara si mi pas xefe. = Sara is my former boss.
yusef si mi zay xefe. = Yusef is my current boss.
maria si mi wil xefe. = Maria is my future boss.

The same words are used when you talk about actions and events in time. Simply put the word before the verb.

me pas darba le. = I hit it (in the past).
me zay darba le. = I am hitting it (currently).
me wil darba le. = I will hit it (in the future).

Alternatively the time word can be placed last in the sentence.

me darba le pas.
me darba le zay.
me darba le wil.

It's also possible to use longer phrases like sa pase (in the past) etc.

me darba le sa pase. = I hit it in the past.
me darba le sa zaye. = I hit it at present.
me darba le sa wile. = I hit it in the future.

It is not necessary to repeat the time expressions all the time. It would be awkward. It is enough to set the stage once in the beginning with a time expression. Another time word will not be needed until the tense changes or until it becomes useful to stress that you are still talking in the same tense.

me pas soya un maw. = I had a cat in the past.
le bon maw. = It was a good cat.
me soya un waf zay. = I have a dog now.

Any expression of time is good for expressing the tense. When one time expression is present, other markers are not needed.

me jenu sa nen 2003. = I was born in 2003.
le safa kamar sa badi den. = He will clean the room tomorrow.

Exercises

Try translating these sentences from English to Pandunia.

  1. My boss will celebrate in the future
  2. I used to have two dogs.
  3. You are eating soup right now.
  4. She cleaned the room the day before.
  5. The cat will drink coffee tomorrow.
  6. Your mother partied last night.

Word List

pas past, former. zay present, current. wil future. darba to hit, to beat. pang bread. subi nyam morning meal, breakfast.

Answers to the Exercises

  1. mi xefe festa sa wile.
  2. me soya dul waf sa pase.
  3. te nyama supe zay.
  4. le safa kamar sa predi den.
  5. maw nyama kafe sa badi den.
  6. ti mame festa sa predi noce.