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Introducing yourself


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sal! = Hello!
sal! = Hello!
tu e ke? = Who are you?
mi e Yusef. tu e ke? = I am Yusef. Who are you?
mi e Sara. da e ke? = I am Sara. Who is that?
da e mi su dosti. = That is my friend.
da su nam e ke? = What's her name?
da su nam e Maria. = Her name is Maria.


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 da e mi su dosti the topic is the pronoun da (he, she, it), which is followed by the comment es mi su dosti (is my friend).

In Pandunia, the word es functions like to be in English. The same word is used for all persons. And to say the opposite, simply put no before it.

da e Sara. = She is Sarah.
da no e Sara. = She is not Sarah.

mau e hevan. = The cat is an animal.
dom no e hevan. = The house is not an animal.

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

mi e hau. = I'm good.
mi e man. = I'm a man.
mi e fem. = I'm a woman.
mi e nobi. = I'm non-binary.


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 Sarah.
  5. What is your name?
  6. My name is ...........

Word List

mi I, me
mi su my
tu you
tu su your
da he, she or it
da su his, her, its
ke who or what
e to be
no no; not
hau good
dosti friend
nam name
fem woman
man man
mau cat
hevan animal

Answers to the Exercises

  1. tu e ke?
  2. mi e Tomas.
  3. tu su dosti e ke?
  4. da e Sara.
  5. tu su nam e ke?
  6. mi su nam e ...........

Saying hello

sal = Hello!

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

sal = Bye!

The word sal means 'hello' or 'hi'.

It has two origins. On one hand, it comes from the Latin greeting salve and related greetings like French salut. Also English salute and Spanish saludo are related to it. On the other hand, it comes from a common Middle Eastern word for wishing well-being, health and safety. It appears as shlaam in Aramaic, the language that Jesus of Nazareth spoke. In Hebrew it is shalom, and in Arabic it is salaam. So smething like sal is already a common greeting in hundreds of languages in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Pandunia is a constructed world language that borrows and blends together international words from all parts of the world.

The word sal means greeting or to greet.

mi sal tu. = I greet you.
tu sal mi. = You greet me.

These are active sentences. In active sentences the subject does the action to the object. In mi sal tu the first word mi is the subject, sal is the verb (action word), and tu 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: mi = I, tu = you, and da = 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.

mi sal tu! = I greet you.
sal tu! = Greetings to you! (It is obvious that the speaker is the one who greets.)
sal! = Greeting! (It is obvious that the listeners are greeted.)

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!

You may use both sal and halo to address people by name, kinship term or profession.

halo, toni! – Hello, Tony!
sal, mama! – Hello, mother!
halo, papa! – Hello, father!
sal, shefe! – Hello, chief!


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

sal hello, hi, salaam, ciao
halo hello (said especially on the phone)
sal greeting(s), to greet.
sal to greet
mama mother, mom
papa father, dad
shefe chief, boss

Answers to the Exercises

  1. tu sal da.
  2. mama sal papa.
  3. sal mama!
  4. sal!

Making requests


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halo, chin pa! = Hello, grandfather!
halo! ching side. = Hello! Please sit!
shukre. = Thank you.
ching yam kafe o cha. = Please have some coffee or tea.
ama mi yam un di cha! shukre. = But I drink only tea! Thank you.
chin pa, mi mus ga a zai. = Grandfather, I have to go now.
oke. ching sal tu su mama! = OK. Please tell greetings to your mother.
mi sal da. sal reste! = I will. Bye!
sal ga! = Bye!


Pandunia's personal pronouns are mi 'I', tu 'you', and da '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.

mi ching tu sal da. = I ask you to say hello to him/her.

This sentence has a pivot structure. The first verb, ching ('to request), addresses tu as its object. At the same time tu serves also as the subject of the second verb, sal ('to greet'), whose object is da. So tu 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/she is talking about. So it is unnecessary to keep on repeating them. In this manner phrases can be made shorter.

mi ching tu sal da. = I ask you to say hello to him/her.
ching sal da. = Please say hello to him/her.

See how the translation of ching 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 ching sal da has a useful pattern that can be used for making polite requests.

ching side. = Please be seated.
ching don kafe. = Please give me some coffee.
ching don cha. = Please give me some tea.
ching yam cha. = Please have some tea.
ching safi kamar. = Please clean the room.

Commands are introduced with amir ('to command'). They employ the same pivot structure as requests with ching.

amir don cha. = Give (me) some tea!
amir safi kamar. = Clean the room!

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

safi da! = Clean it!


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

amir to order, to command
cha tea
chin pa grandfather
ching to ask; please
don to give
e and
ga to go
kafe coffee
kamar room
la the
mus must, have to
o or
safi to clean
shukre thanks
side to sit
un di only
yam to eat or drink
yo some, a(n)

Answers to the Exercises

  1. da yam cha.
  2. la shefe ching da side.
  3. ching yam kafe o cha.
  4. mama ching mi safi kamar.
  5. shefe side i yam kafe.

Yes or no questions


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sal! sual tu yam kafe o cha? = Hello! Would you like to have coffee or tea?
cha. = Tea.
tu ne? = And you?
mi no basha pandunia... = I don't speak Pandunia...
maf! sual da yam cha? = Pardon! Will he have tea?
no. da no yam cha. da yam kafe. = No, he won't. He would like to have coffee.
sual tu yam supe? = Would you like to have soup?
ya. = Yes.
sual da yam supe? = Would he like to have soup?
no yam. = No.
shukre. mi don un cha i un kafe i un supe pos 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 ching, which you learned in the previous lesson. Question sentences are introduced with sual 'to ask'.

mi sual tu yam cha. = I ask (do) you drink tea.
sual tu yam cha? = Do you drink tea?
sual yam cha? = 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.

sual da yam cha? = Does he/she drink tea?
sual tu yam supe? = Do you eat soup?
sual mimen yam sui? = Do we drink water?

Of course common and proper nouns can also be used.

sual shefe yam kafe? = Does the chief drink coffee?
sual papa safi kamar? = Does the father clean the room?
sual Niki basha pandunia? = Does Nicky speak Pandunia?

Giving answers

Yes/no questions can be answered with ya 'yes', and no 'no'.

sual tu yam supe? = Do you eat soup?
ya. = Yes.
sual da yam supe? = Does she eat soup?
no. = No.

Also more complete answers can be given.

sual tu yam kafe? = Do you drink coffee?
ya. mi yam kafe. = Yes, I drink coffee.
sual da yam kafe? = Does he drink coffee?
no. da no yam kafe. = No, he doesn't drink coffee.

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

sual tu yam sui? = Do you drink water?
yam. = (Yes, I) drink.


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

pos after
maf pardon, sorry
minute minute
basha speak a language
ne sentence-ending tag for asking the other's point of view
sui water
supe soup
un one (1)
des ten
sual to ask a question
ya yes

Answers to the Exercises

  1. sual tu bashe pandunia?
  2. ya. mi bashe pandunia.
  3. sual mama yam kafe?
  4. no. da no yam kafe.
  5. sual da yam supe?
  6. (da) no yam.

Saying no

In the previous lesson you learned to answer ya and no to questions. The word no is used for denying something. Adding no in front of the verb turns an affirmative sentence to negative.

mi sal tu. = I greet you.
mi no sal tu. = I do not greet you.

Conceptually negation means the absence or non-existence of the negated word. In the phrase mi no sal tu the negative word no 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.

mi ching tu safi kamar. = I ask you to clean the room.
mi no ching tu safi kamar. = I do NOT ask you to clean the room.
mi ching tu no safi kamar. = I ask you NOT to clean the room.

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

da no ha mau. = She doesn't have a cat.
da ha no mau, ama vaf. = She has no cats but dogs.
no da, ama mi ha mau. = Not she but I have cats. (It's not her, but me who has cats.)
mi ha no un, ama du mau. = I have not one but two cats.


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

kupa cup, glass, mug
hali empty
ha to have
mau cat
vaf dog
du two
siro zero
ama but

Answers to the Exercises

  1. da no safi kamar.
  2. un kupa no hali.
  3. du vaf no yam supe.
  4. da no ha vaf i mau. / da ha no vaf i no mau.
  5. shefe yam cha ama no kafe.
  6. mama ha no vaf ama du mau.

More Questions

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

da e ke? = What is that? / Who is (s)he?
da e ke jen? = Who is he/she?
da e ke she? = What (thing) is it?
ke jen lai? = Who is coming? (jen = person)
tu yam a ke zaman? = When do you eat? (zaman = time)
men danse a ke mode? = How to dance? (mode = manner, style)

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

ke sabu tu suka mau? = Why do you like cats?

Questions asking about the cause or reason of something, are answered by adding de sabu before the cause or reason.

ke sabu tu suka mau? = Why do you like cats?
de sabu damen e kavai. = 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.

mi suka mau de sabu damen e kavai = I like cats because they are cute.


  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 and soup.

Word List

danse to dance
lai to come
a at, in, on
jen person
suka to like
yang manner, style
zaman period of time

Answers to the Exercises

  1. ke jen suka supe?
  2. papa suka.
  3. ke zaman da lai?
  4. pos des minute.
  5. ke sabu da no yam?
  6. de sabu da no suka kafe i 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.

mi dape da. = I hit it.

In Pandunia all verbs are like that! For example, mi yam ban 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.

mi yam ban a ye suba yam. = I ate bread for this breakfast.

There are also specific time words.

zai = currently, at the moment
sha = later, in the future

They can be used for modifying nouns.

Sara e mi su pas shefe. = Sarah is my former boss.
Yusef e mi su zai shefe. = Yusef is my current boss.
Maria e mi su sha shefe. = 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.

mi pas dape da. = I hit it (in the past).
mi zai dape da. = I am hitting it (currently).
mi sha dape da. = I will hit it (in the future).

It's also possible to use preposition phrases of time.

mi dape da a pas. = I hit it in the past.
mi dape da a zai. = I hit it at present.
mi dape da a sha. = 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.

mi pas ha un mau. = I had a cat in the past.
da e hau mau. = It was a good cat.
mi ha un vaf a zai. = 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.

mi be gene a nen 2003. = I was born in 2003.
da safi la kamar a pos den. = He will clean the room tomorrow.


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 milk tomorrow.
  6. Your mother partied last night.

Word List

pas past, former
zai present, current
sha future
pre before
den day, 24 hours
noche night
dape to hit, to beat
ban bread
suba yam morning meal, breakfast
milke milk

Answers to the Exercises

  1. mi su shefe festa a sha.
  2. mi ha du vaf a pas.
  3. tu yam supe a zai.
  4. da safi kamar a preden.
  5. mau yam milke a posden.
  6. tu su ma festa a prenoce.