15.8. Truth questions

One application of negation is in answer to truth questions (those which expect the answers Yes or No). The truth question cmavo xu is in selma'o UI; placed at the beginning of a sentence, it asks whether the sentence as a whole is true or false.

Example 15.80. 

xu la .djan. pu klama
Is-it-true-that: (that-named John previously went-to
la .paris. .e la .rom.
that-named Paris and that-named Rome.)

You can now use each of the several kinds of negation we've discussed in answer to this (presuming the same question and context for each answer).

The straightforward negative answer is grammatically equivalent to the expanded sentence with the na immediately after the cu (and before any tense/modal):

Example 15.81. 

na go'i
[false] [repeat-previous]


which means

Example 15.82. 

la .djan. [cu] na pu klama
That-named John [false] previously went-to
la .paris. .e la .rom.
that-named Paris and that-named Rome.

It's not true that John went to Paris and Rome.

The respondent can change the tense, putting the na in either before or after the new tense:

Example 15.83. 

na ba go'i
[false] [future] [repeat-previous]


Example 15.84. 

la .djan. [cu] na ba klama
That-named John [false] later will-go-to
la .paris. .e la .rom.
that-named Paris and that-named Rome.

It is false that John will go to Paris and Rome.

or alternatively

Example 15.85. 

ba na go'i
[future] [false] [repeat-previous]


Example 15.86. 

la .djan. [cu] ba na
that-named John later-will [false]
klama la .paris. .e la .rom.
go-to that-named Paris and that-named Rome.

We stated in Section 15.3 that sentences like Example 15.84 and Example 15.86 appear to be semantically identical, but that subtle semantic distinctions may eventually be found.

You can also use a scalar negation with na'e , in which case, it is equivalent to putting a na'eke immediately after any tense:

Example 15.87. 

na'e go'i
other-than [repeat-previous]

which means

Example 15.88. 

la .djan. [cu] pu na'eke klama [ke'e]
that-named John previously other-than( went-to )
la .paris. .e la .rom.
that-named Paris and that-named Rome.

He might have telephoned the two cities instead of going there. The unnecessary ke and ke'e would have been essential if the selbri had been a tanru.