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Lessons

Introducing yourself

Dialog


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sal! – Hello!
sal! – Hello!
tu es hu? – Who are you?
mi es Yusef. tu es hu? – I am Yusef. Who are you?
mi es Sara. da es hu? – I am Sara. Who is that?
da es mi se frende. – That is my friend.
da se nam es kua? – What's her name?
da se nam es Maria. – Her name is Maria.

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 da es mi se frende the topic is the pronoun da (he, she, it), which is followed by the comment es mi se frende (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 es Sara. – She is Sarah.
da no es Sara. – She is not Sarah.

mau es hevan. – The cat is an animal.
haus no es 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 es gud. – I'm good.
mi es man. – I'm a man.
mi es fem. – I'm a woman.
mi es nobi. – I'm non-binary.

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

Word List

da he, she or it
da se his, her, its
es to be
fem woman
frende friend
gud good
hevan animal
hu who
kua what
man man
mau cat
mi I, me
mi se my
nam name
no no; not
tu you (singular)
tu se your

Answers to the Exercises

  1. tu es hu?
  2. mi es Tomas.
  3. hu es tu se frende?
  4. da es Sara.
  5. tu se nam es kua?
  6. mi se nam es ______.

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 singular 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!

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

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

Dialog


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halo, chin pa! – Hello, grandfather!
halo! plis side. – Hello! Please sit!
danke. – Thank you.
plis yam kafe o cha. – Please have some coffee or tea.
ama mi un li yam cha! danke. – But I only drink tea! Thank you.
...
chin pa, mi mus go a nun. – Grandfather, I have to go now.
okei. plis sal tu se mama! – OK. Please tell greetings to your mother.
mi sal da. sal reste! – I will. Bye!
sal go! – Bye!

Grammar

Pandunia's singular 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 plis tu sal da. – I ask you to say hello to him/her.

This sentence has a pivot structure. The first verb, plis ('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 plis tu sal da. – I ask you to say hello to him/her.
plis sal da. – Please say hello to him/her.

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

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

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

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!

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

amir to order, to command
cha tea
chin pa grandfather
da this or that
danke to thank; thank you
don to give
e and
go to go
kafe coffee
kamar room
mus must, have to
o or
plis to ask; please
safi to clean
side to sit
danke thanks
un li only
yam to eat or drink

Answers to the Exercises

  1. da yam cha.
  2. shefe plis da side.
  3. plis yam kafe o cha.
  4. mama plis mi safi kamar.
  5. shefe side e yam kafe.

Yes or no questions

Dialog


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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 bashe pandunia... – I don't speak Pandunia...
perdon! 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?
ye. – Yes.
sual da yam supe? – Would he like to have soup?
no yam. – No.
danke. mi don un cha e un kafe e un supe pos ten 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 plis, 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 vi 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 bashe pandunia? – Does Nicky speak Pandunia?

Giving answers

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

sual tu yam supe? = Do you eat soup?
ye. = 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?
ye. 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.

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

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

Answers to the Exercises

  1. sual tu bashe pandunia?
  2. ye. 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 ye 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 plis tu safi kamar. – I ask you to clean the room.
mi no plis tu safi kamar. – I do NOT ask you to clean the room.
mi plis 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 have mau. – She doesn't have a cat.
da have no mau, ama vaf. – She has no cats but dogs.
no da, ama mi have mau. – Not she but I have cats. (It's not her, but me who has cats.)
mi have no un, ama du mau. – 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

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

Answers to the Exercises

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

More Questions

Content questions are asked with the interrogative pronouns kua ('what, which') and hu ('who'). The question can be made more specific by adding words for person, time, manner or thing if needed.

da es hu? – What is that? / Who is (s)he?
da es kua jen? – Who is he/she?
da es kua ting? – What (thing) is it?
kua jen kom? – Who is coming? (jen = person)
tu yam a kua tem? – When do you eat? (tem = time)
von danse a kua vei? – How to dance? (vei = way, manner, style)

In Pandunia, questions beginning with why are asked using kua sabab.

kua sabab tu suka mau? – Why do you like cats?

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

kua sabab tu suka mau? – Why do you like cats?
of sabab di es kavai. – Because they are cute.

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

mi suka mau of sabab di es kavai – 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 and soup.

Word List

a at, in, on
danse to dance
jen person
kom to come
suka to like
tem period of time
vei manner, style

Answers to the Exercises

  1. hu suka supe?
  2. papa suka.
  3. kua tem da kom?
  4. pos des minute.
  5. kua sabab da no yam?
  6. of sabab da no suka kafe e 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 bate 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 da hir suba yam. – I ate bread for this breakfast.

There are also specific time words.

did – in the past
nun – currently, at the moment
vil – later, in the future

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

mi did bate da. – I hit it (in the past).
mi nun bate da. – I am hitting it (currently).
mi vil bate da. – I will 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 did have un mau. – I had a cat in the past.
da es gud mau. – It was a good cat.
mi nun have un vaf. – I now have a dog.

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 da kamar a pos den. – He will clean the room tomorrow.

Exercises

Try translating these sentences from English to Pandunia.

  1. My boss will celebrate.
  2. I had two dogs.
  3. You are eating soup now.
  4. She cleaned the room the day before.
  5. The cat will drink milk tomorrow.
  6. Your mother partied last night.

Word List

did before, formerly
nun at present, currently
vil will, in the future
pre before
bate to hit, to beat
den day, 24 hours
noche night
ban bread
suba yam morning meal, breakfast
milke milk

Answers to the Exercises

  1. mi se shefe vil feste.
  2. mi did have du vaf.
  3. tu nun yam supe.
  4. da safi kamar a preden.
  5. mau yam milke a posden.
  6. tu se ma feste a prenoche.