Lessons

Introducing yourself

Dialog


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halo! = Hello!
salam! = Hello!
tu si ke? = Who are you?
mi si Yusef. tu si ke? = I am Yusef. Who are you?
mi si Sara. ye si ke? = I am Sara. Who is that?
ye si mi su dosti. = That is my friend.
ye su nam si ke? = What's her name?
ye su nam si 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 ye si mi su dosti the topic is the pronoun ye (he, she, it), which is followed by the comment si mi su dosti (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 put no before it.

ye si Sara. = She is Sarah.
ye no si Sara. = She is not Sarah.

mau si zou. = The cat is an animal.
dom no si zou. = The house is not an animal.

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

mi si bon. = I'm good.
mi si man. = I'm a man.
mi si fem. = I'm a woman.
mi si 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

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

Answers to the Exercises

  1. tu si ke?
  2. mi si tomas.
  3. tu su dosti si ke?
  4. ye si Sara.
  5. tu su nam si ke?
  6. mi su nam si ...........

Saying hello

salam = Hello!

This is how people often 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 a 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". Today it is a common greeting in hundreds of languages in Africa, Asia and Europe. Pandunia is a constructed world language that borrows international words from all parts of the world.

The word salam is also a verb, which means "to greet".

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

These are active sentences. In active sentences the subject does the action to the object. In mi salam tu the first word, mi, is the subject, salam 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 ye = 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 salam tu! = I greet you.
salam tu! = Greetings to you! (It is obvious that the speaker is the one who greets.)
salam! = 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 salam and halo to address people by name, kinship term or profession.

halo, toni! – Hello, Tony!
salam, mama! – Hello, mother!
halo, papa! – Hello, father!
salam, 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

salam, halo greeting, hello, hi, salaam, ciao, etc.
salam to greet
mama mother, mom
papa father, dad
shefe chief, boss

Answers to the Exercises

  1. tu salam ye.
  2. mama salam papa.
  3. salam mama!
  4. salam!

Making requests

Dialog


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halo, chin pa! = Hello, grandfather!
halo! ching side. = Hello! Please sit!
shukur. = Thank you.
ching yam yo kafe o chai. = Please have some coffee or tea.
a mi yam un di chai! shukur. = But I drink only tea! Thank you.
...
chin pa, mi mus ga na zai. = Grandfather, I have to go now.
bon. ching salam tu su mama! = OK. Please tell greetings to your mother.
mi salam ye. salam reste! = I will. Bye!
salam ga! = Bye!

Grammar

Pandunia's personal pronouns are: mi = I, tu = you, and ye = 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 salam ye. = 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, salam ('to greet'), whose object is ye. 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 or she is talking about. So it is unnecessary to keep on repeating them. In this manner phrases can be made shorter.

mi ching tu salam ye. = I ask you to say hello to him/her.
ching salam ye. = 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 salam ye has a useful pattern that can be used for making polite requests.

ching side. = Please be seated.
ching don yo kafe. = Please give me some coffee.
ching don yo chai. = Please give me some tea.
ching yam yo chai. = Please have some tea.
ching safa la kamar. = Please clean the room.

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

amir don yo chai. = Give (me) some tea!
amir safa la kamar. = Clean the room!

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

safa ye! = 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
chai 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
safa to clean
shukur thanks
side to sit
un di only
yam to eat or drink
yo some, a(n)

Answers to the Exercises

  1. ye yam chai.
  2. la shefe ching ye side.
  3. ching yam kafe o chai.
  4. mama ching mi safa kamar.
  5. shefe side e yam kafe.

Yes or no questions

Dialog


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salam! sual tu yam kafe o chai? = Hello! Would you like to have coffee or tea?
chai. = Tea.
e tu? = And you?
mi no basha pandunia... = I don't speak Pandunia...
maf! sual ye yam chai? = Pardon! Will he have tea?
no. ye no yam chai. ye yam kafe. = No, he won't. He would like to have coffee.
sual tu yam yo supe? = Would you like to have soup?
ya. = Yes.
sual ye yam yo supe? = Would he like to have soup?
no yam. = No.
shukur. mi dona un chai e un kafe e 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 chai. = I ask (do) you drink tea.
sual tu yam chai? = Do you drink tea?
sual yam chai? = 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 ye yam chai? = Does he or she drink tea?
sual tu yam supe? = Do you eat soup?
sual mimon 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 safa 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 ye 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 ye yam kafe? = Does he drink coffee?
no. ye 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

pos after
maf pardon, sorry
minute minute
basha speak a language
sui water
supe soup
un one (1)
des ten
sual to ask a question
ya yes

Answers to the Exercises

  1. sual tu basha pandunia?
  2. ya. mi basha pandunia.
  3. sual mama yam kafe?
  4. no. ye no yam kafe.
  5. sual ye yam supe?
  6. (ye) 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 salam tu. = I greet you.
mi no salam tu. = I do not greet you.

Conceptually negation means the absence or non-existence of the negated word. In the phrase mi no salam 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 safa la kamar. = I ask you to clean the room.
mi no ching tu safa la kamar. = I do NOT ask you to clean the room.
mi ching tu no safa la kamar. = I ask you NOT to clean the room.

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

ye no ten mau. = She doesn't have a cat.
ye ten no mau, a vaf. = She has no cats but dogs.
no ye, a mi ten mau. = Not she but I have cats.
mi ten no un, a 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

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

Answers to the Exercises

  1. ye no safa kamar.
  2. un kupa no hali.
  3. du vaf no yam supe.
  4. ye no ten vaf e mau. / ye ten no vaf e no mau.
  5. shefe yam chai a no kafe.
  6. mama ten no vaf a 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.

ye si ke? = What is that? / Who is (s)he?
ye si ke jen? = Who is he/she?
ye si ke she? = What (thing) is it?
ke jen lai? = Who is coming? (jen = person)
tu yam na ke zaman? = When do you eat? (zaman = time)
mon danse na ke yang? = How to dance? (yang = 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 sabu before the cause or reason. sabu is actually a passive verb meaning to be caused by.

ke sabu tu suka mau? = Why do you like cats?
ze sabu yemon si 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 ze sabu yemon si 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 or soup.

Word List

danse to dance
lai to come
na 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 ye lai?
  4. pos des minute.
  5. ke sabu ye no yam?
  6. ze sabu ye no suka kafe o 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 darba ye. = I hit it.

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

mi yam pang na ni 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 si mi su pas shefe. = Sarah is my former boss.
Yusef si mi su zai shefe. = Yusef is my current boss.
Maria si 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 darba ye. = I hit it (in the past).
mi zai darba ye. = I am hitting it (currently).
mi sha darba ye. = I will hit it (in the future).

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

mi darba ye na pas. = I hit it in the past.
mi darba ye na zai. = I hit it at present.
mi darba ye na 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 ten un mau. = I had a cat in the past.
ye si bon mau. = It was a good cat.
mi ten un vaf na 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 jene na nen 2003. = I was born in 2003.
ye safa la kamar na pos 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 milk tomorrow.
  6. Your mother partied last night.

Word List

pas past, former
zai present, current
sha future
chen before
den day
noche night
darba to hit, to beat
pang bread
suba yam morning meal, breakfast
milke milk

Answers to the Exercises

  1. mi su shefe festa na sha.
  2. mi ten du vaf na pas.
  3. tu yam supe na zai.
  4. ye safa kamar na chen den.
  5. mau yam milke na pos den.
  6. tu su mama festa na chen noche.