Tatari Faran Grammar

Sentences (2)


Imperatives use imperative word order (verb-subject-arguments). This word order is sufficient to indicate imperative mood. Although subjunctives share the same word order, subjunctives always have other particles to mark them as such.

Here are some examples of imperative sentences:

tapa tse sa buta' nei.
(You,) go to the house!

This sentence is formed simply by rearranging the words in its indicative analog. However, unlike the literal English translation, the use of the 2nd person pronoun in an imperative weakens it. Normally, the 2nd person pronoun is omitted:

tapa buta' nei.
Go to the house!

Even when politeness is desired, the 2nd person pronoun is normally not preferred, unless the imperative is addressed specifically to someone within a larger audience. Instead, the adverb ina, “please”, is appended to the verb:

tapa ina buta' nei.
Please go to the house.

The finalizer is sometimes included in imperatives to make it more forceful. It implies that the requested action is expected to be performed completely. For example:

tapa buta' nei bata.
Go to the house, go!

Note that using a finalizer with an imperative does not always indicate forcefulness, since the finalizer may be present for syntactic purposes, such as described later for conditional statements.

Another way of expressing a forceful imperative is by appending the adverb eka, “must”, to the verb:

tapa eka buta' nei.
[You] must go to the house!

It is also common to use the temporal adverb kana (“now” or “immediately”) to strengthen an imperative:

tapa kana buta' nei.
Go to the house immediately!

These can, of course, be combined to make a very strong imperative:

tapa kana eka buta' nei bata.
[You] must go to the house immediately, go!


Questions use interrogative word order. The finalizer is omitted, and interrogative markers are present to indicate that the sentence is a question, and what type of question it is.

Yes/no questions

For yes/no questions, the interrogative postposition ta is placed in adverbial position:

diru sei buara na tapa ta?
Did the girl walk to the volcano?

The postposition ta may modify the subject NP instead, to ask a confirmative question:

diru sita buara na tapa?
Was it the girl who walked to the volcano?

(Note that when ta follows sei, they contract into sita.)

buara na ta diru sei tapa?
Was it to the volcano that the girl walked?

If the question is formed from a non-verbal sentence such as an adjectival statement, ta is placed after the predicate. For example:

usu sei haba ta? usu sei haba sisa'.
Is the water hot? (Yes,) the water is searing hot.

The expected answer to this type of question is ai (“yes”) or bai (“no”).

Asking about alternatives

One may also use a double subject in questions to inquire about alternatives:

diru kita kiran ka ta tse na hamra?
Was it the girl or the young man that you saw?

The interrogative ta occurs on both subject NP's, and indicate a choice between them. (Note: kita is the contraction of kei and ta.)

In answering such a question, one may simply state the bare NP:

diru kei.
It was the girl (whom you saw).

Note that the noun case of the answer must match that of the question.

The double subject construction may also be used for adjectival questions. In this case, the interrogative ta replaces the finalizer. For example:

mopan ta jui'in ta tara' sei?
Is she ugly or beautiful?

Who/what/where questions

For “what” or “who” questions, the interrogative nouns sia and sii (“who” or “what”) are used. For example:

san tara' sei sii?
Who is that person?

fei so sii?
What is that thing?

sia so buta' nei tapa?
Who walked to the house?

sii can be used for both animate and inanimate nouns, and sia can only be used for people (“who”). However, sia is only used when the person referred to isn't known yet, and sii is used when the person is known but not yet identified. In the first example above, san tara' sei (that person) is already known, and the question is concerning the identity of that person. Hence, sii is used (literally, it means “What kind of person is that?”). In the third example, the person who walked to the house is unknown, and so sia is used.

The interrogative particle ta is not used when sia or sii are used. (They have conflicting meanings: ta is used for yes/no questions, and sia/sii are used for who/what questions.)

The postposition ipai, “at (a location)”, is used with sii to ask “where” questions. For example:

sii ipai san tara' so?
Where is that person?
(Lit. in what place is that person?)

Similarly, the postposition iti, “at (a point in time)”, is used with sii to ask “when” questions. For example:

sii iti tse sei misanan dei tapa?
When did/will you go to the village?


So far, we've only considered sentences built from a single clause. We now consider how multiple clauses can be joined together to make complex sentences.


The conjunction hena [hɛna] is used to join two or more clauses together. For example:

huu na dutan diru kei inin, hena sa tapa tara' nei bata.
I heard the girl, and [I] walked towards her.

Note how the case particle sa in the second clause serves to mark the case of the elided huu. If the subject NP is the same in both clauses, it may be elided from the second clause, leaving its case particle following hena to indicate how it is acting in the second clause.

The finalizer is present in both clauses, but could be omitted in any but the last clause for dramatic effect. This is device is used especially when more than two clauses are joined together by hena. For example:

huu na hamra keika'ina ka, hena ka tampa bura sa fei na, bura sa hena patam fei na aku'.
I saw the wild wolf, and threw a large rock at it, and the rock struck it on the head.

The absence of the finalizer in all but the last clause lends dramatic emphasis to it.


The conjunction isi [ʔisi], “because”, is used to make cause-and-effect statements. It is present in both clauses. The cause clause omits the finalizer, whereas the result clause keeps the finalizer as a manner of emphasis. When the subject NP is present, isi occurs immediately following it. If the subject NP has been elided, isi may serve the role of a conjunction in the manner of hena, occurring clause-initially and taking a case particle as a modifier. Examples:

huu sa isi pamra buara na itan, diru kei isi hamra huu na buara ata.
I ran towards the volcano, because I saw the girl on it.

huu na isi hamra diru kei buara ata, isa pamra buara na itan.
Because I saw the girl on the volcano, I ran to it.

(Note: isa is the contraction of isi and sa.)

Observe that the presence or absence of the finalizer determines which clause is the antecedent and which is the consequent. The ordering of the clauses is arbitrary.

If the cause clause is a non-verbal clause such as an adjectival statement, isi appears at the end of the clause and replaces the finalizer (if any). For example:

san tara' sei mopan isi, huu ka isi juerat be tara' nei itu.
That woman is ugly, so I do not look at her.

If the adjectival statement occurs in the result clause, isi appears between the subject NP and the predicate. For example:

jibin sa isi tsaijin paraf ipai, tara' sa isi muras dafan.
Because the boy played in the ash, he is grey.


The conjunction bera means “if not”, “or else”, or “otherwise” and is used for expressing alternatives. For example:

tapa buta' kei bata. huu ka bera pahaan kiki.
Leave the house; otherwise I will be angry.

Just like hena, it can be placed after the subject NP, or, if the subject has been elided, it can appear clause-initially followed by the case clitic of the elided subject. For example:

hamra era huu nei tara' kei, huu sei suka tara' nei dusu; bera sei tapa buta' nei bata.
If I see her, I will follow her; otherwise, I will go home.

The conditional construct used in this example is explained in the following section.

Conditional statements

A conditional (if A then B) is constructed by putting together a subjunctive clause with an indicative clause. The subjunctive clause is called the antecedent and the indicative clause the consequent. The conditional particle era [ʔɛɾa] is placed in adverbial position to serve as a subjunctive marker in the antecedent, and the finalizer is omitted from the same. The finalizer only appears in the consequent.


juerat era tse ka tinka aba, tse na hamra pireis sei aram.
If you look under the conifer, you will see the chanterelle.

tsaritas ko kitsit tse na tsam, tapa aba era tse sa kuen na.
The monkey will bite you, if you walk under the tree.

tapa era tse sa buta' nei, tse na hamra simani tara'an ka aram.
If you walk to the hut, you will see her wolf.

tse sa tapa buta' nei bata, hamra era tse na simani tara'an ka.
You will walk to the hut, if you saw her wolf.

The conjunction bera may be used to add an “else” clause. For example:

ka'am era tse na buneis sa, huu na ka'am pireis sei tsa, bera na ka'am buneis sa tsa.
If you eat the giant mushroom, I will eat the chanterelle; otherwise I will eat the giant mushroom.

If the antecedent is a non-verbal clause, such as a statement of equivalance or an adjectival statement, the predicate is moved to the front and modified by era, and the subject NP is placed last. For example:

duru era tiki sei, huu na tasa fei sei busai.
If the rabbit is slow, I will catch it.

Imperative clauses may also be used as the consequent of a conditional statement. In this case, the finalizer will always be present in the imperative clause, and does not necessarily indicate forcefulness. Here is an example of an imperative consequent:

hamra era tse na tiki kei, tsana diru nei aniin.
If you see the rabbit, tell the girl.

Quoted Discourse

Quoted discourse is started by the particle e [ʔɛ], and terminated by the modified finalizer e'aniin (sometimes simply aniin). For example:

diru kei tsana huu na e, huu sei isi pamra itsan ko itan, isi nei hamra kutakaranim ko itsan ata, e'aniin.
The girl said to me, “I ran away from the cinder cone, because I saw a Kutakaranim on the cinder cone!”

When the verb is araf (to shout), the quoted discourse is ended by daa or eraa instead. For example:

kiran ka araf e, pamra kana! karinaras humpa! eraa.
The young man shouted, “Run! A pyroclastic flow comes!”

Last updated 23 May 2013.

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