Jutean pragmatics

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Jutean pragmatics are characterized by the three common speech registers, formal or humble, neutral and informal or casual.

Formal speech register

Formal is used for the person you are married to or are dating, elders or anyone you want to be particularly polite to (like customers, guests of honor or people you just like a lot).

Main characteristics:

  • general pronoun avoidance with preference for patientive sentences, with exceptions
  • when a pronoun is used to address someone, several persons or a group, the second person collective pronoun fan is always used
  • when addressing or mentioning people, the a ukaini ('of honor') honorific is added to names
  • verb repetition in requests after offers (if being particularly polite), followed by the actual request and then ukainot na 'you shall be honored'
  • dedicated phrases for yes/no questions with two different levels of formality
  • dedicated greeting phrases
  • for statements ascribing qualities and characteristics, oho 'to have' is used instead of no a 'be of', e.g. Oho fan ohaji instead of No fan a ohaji for 'You are beautiful'
  • uses the conditional mood for questions, requests, pleas and petitions instead of the indicative or imperative
  • uses the subjunctive for praises, affirmations or orders

Questions, agreement and disagreement

Dekio ta

In formal contexts, sometimes dekio ta ('I agree') can be used, when affirming a previous sentence that wasn't framed as a question, and with some questions that weren't directed at the speaker personally, especially rhetorical questions, or with any leading questions expecting a yes. (Negating the phrase to dekiol tal is a polite way to show disagreement in similar cases). Dekio ta is a set phrase and so is exempted from pronoun avoidance, however dekio ji ('this is agreed') can be used to be indirect to seem even more polite.

This group of phrases does not work with questions that expect more than a simple 'yes' when answered affirmatively, for example when answering a waiter.

No vuha a uke. 'It's a good/nice day.' - Dekio ta. 'Yes/I agree.'
Be day of goodness – Agree 1S

Saihoko la mihinidohi, haa. 'He/She/They (Sg.) likes/like sleeping, doesn't/don't he/she/they'? - Dekio ta. Yes/I agree.
Like 3S sleep.GER, Q. – Agree 1S

Again, a falling tone would mark it as a question with an anticipated answer, and a question mark can be omitted in writing.

Not ehe ji

An even more formal way of showing agreement, especially used by e.g. waiters or other people working for someone is Not ehe ji ('It shall be like this') or slightly less formal Not ji ('This shall be'). The English equivalent would be roughly 'As you wish'. Alternatively, it can also be used to strongly agree with something, however this cannot be a question.

Not to be used in casual settings, as it will come across as arrogant and condescending if not used humorously.

Saimoke hao ta lesiti. 'I would like (some) tea.' - Not ehe ji. 'It shall be like this./As you wish.'
Want-COND ask 1S tea-IDR – Be-SBJV like this.ABST

Tefot fa ajavi! 'We shall win today!' - Not ehe ji! 'This shall be/We shall!'
Win-SBJV 1.COL today – Be-SBJV like this.ABST

Saimoke mo haomo ilikio al fanal. 'We would like to not be disturbed.' – Not ehe ji. 'This [not disturbing] shall be/As you wish.'
want-COND ANTIP ask-ANTIP be_distubed NEG 1P.EXCL;SG – Be-SBJV like this.ABST

Not al ji

An equivalent of Not (ehe) ji for affirming negating sentences politely, agreeing to negative requests or answering leading questions expecting a no is Not al ji, a possible English equivalent being 'As you wish' again. It can also be used to express e.g. indignation, strongly agree with a negative statement or strongly disagree with a statement.

However, the last one might be seen as very insolent and disrespectful, and be the cause for some indignation with the listener, who might say Nuhenuheo ji! ('You dare to!', lit. 'Try this!'). Similarly, it would be very rude to use it to reject an offer or a request.

Offers and answering offers

When making a request after an offer has been made, Ukainot na (/ukɐinɑt nɐ/, 'You shall be honored/thanked') is put at the end of the sentence if the polite speech register is appropriate, taking the role of 'please' in 'I'll take four, please'. To be more polite, it can be preceded by a verb repetition first (see above). This is uncommon in less formal environments, e.g. markets, where the request alone can serve as agreement.

Saimoke hao fan fivati, haa? 'Would you like some eggs?'
Want-COND ask 2.COL egg-IDR, Q?

(Saimoke hao ta kiovif.) Teo ta ja a du, ukainot na. '(I would like some.) I need four of them, you shall be thanked.'
Want-COND ask 1S some.C Need 1S this.C of four, be_thanked-SUBJ 2S

The formal and polite way to turn down an offer or deny a request would be either Hokolukee, teo tovoheo ji ('Unfortunately, this needs to be turned down') or Hokolukee, eeol no ji ('Unfortunately, this is not possible'). Which one is used usually depends on which one is more fitting in a given context.

Neutral speech register

Neutral is the "normal" and most common option for everyday conversation or politics and the failsafe when the speaker doesn't know what to use.

Main characteristics:

  • when addressing people, the a uke ('of goodness') honorific is used
  • responses to offers are treated like requests, so a sentence in the indicative mood with uke added again
  • yes/no questions are answered through verb repetition
  • One-word greetings are uncommon, Vuha/Oone/... a uke (Good day/night/...) is preferred
  • uses the indicative for questions, requests, pleas and petitions, the latter three also get an uke 'thanks', literally 'good'
  • uses the indicative also for praises and affirmations
  • uses the imperative for orders, with uke 'thanks' added again

Questions, agreement and disagreement

The neutral and most common form to answer such a question is to repeat the verb, and negate it when needed. Either the verb, the pronoun or both can be negated by adding -l/-al in that case. It is almost always appropriate, except when Not ehe ji would be expected.

Ato na, haa? 'Are you coming/Will you come?'
Come 2S, Q.?

Ato ta! (Atol ta!) 'I will (not)!/I will (not) come!/I am (not) coming.'
Come(-NEG) 1S(-NEG)!

Affirmatively answering a question that expects a negative answer is done with le.

Atilol na ajavi, haa? 'Are you not coming back today?/Will you not come back today?' – Le, atilo (ta) 'Yes, (I) will return'
return-NEG 2S today | Q – no_yeah | return (1S)

Offers and acceptance of offers

Informal speech register

The informal speech register is used for casual conversations between friends (unless there is an elder present), often with or among children and between young or middle-aged relatives, especially of the same age.

Main characteristics:

  • no honorifics
  • Anything deemed belonging to the polite register is considered weird, humorous or even arrogant
  • pronoun avoidance is an exception, however it is used to be more concise and brief
  • Dedicated set of words to reply to yes/no questions
  • one-word greetings such as dekki 'hey' are common, with usually a more and a less informal variant and additional dialectal variants
  • usage of slang or other specific vocabulary (e.g. onekivo, 'tooth', instead of memuata)
  • uses moods like the indicative, but does not add uke 'thanks', literally 'good'

Questions, agreement and disagreement

In casual settings hee (/he:/) or ee (/e:/) can be used sometimes to express 'yes', similar to phrases such as 'don't you/wouldn't you/shouldn't you/couldn't you' or a 'right?', but not with '... do you/would you/should you/could you?'. It's less strong of an affirmative and can have the connotation of 'yeeeeaaah... maybe?'.

Saiho na a me ta ma, haa. Are you thinking of me? / You are thinking of me. aren't you? Think 2S of OBL 1S OBL, Q.

(The difference is indicated by tone, a neutral tone would be used for the former, a falling for the latter)

(H)ee... Yes/Yeah... (indicated by the length of the "e". /h/ is nonpresent in some dialects. A rising tone can signify some kind of shame/embarrassment/bashfulness, a falling one annoyance/reluctance)

When used to agree to an offer, it can be preceded by an 'uke' which sounds more polite, or alternatively (depending on the tone being used) more urgent or pleading.

Saimoke na lesiti, haa? 'Would you like (some) tea?' - Uke, hee! 'Yes, please!'
Want-COND 2S tea-IDR, Q

A stronger, unambiguous agreement is expressed with 'hei', or more commonly 'se' (exactly, for sure) or 'onke' (absolutely, certainly).

No niooni a ji a hukea! 'This movie is great!' – Se! 'For sure!'
Be movie of this.ABST of greatness – exactly

The negated form is 'heel' (/he:l/), used in the sense of "yeah, no", "yes, but still/ but that doesn't mean..." or similar. It's used for agreeing in part with a statement. It can be both reassuring (English "yeah, but don't worry", "nah, it's fine") or accusatory ("Yeah, no! No way [that will happen just because ...]") depending on context.

Saiho jasof ta he. 'I think I should really be studying now.' – - Heel! 'Nah.' (I guess you should, but you don't have to do it right now, do you?)
Think study_hard-HORT 1S now

Hei is generally not negated, and the negation of se and onke not used to indicate disagreement. The more common informal way of expressing clear disagreement, a rejection or denial of something is to use alal (/ɐlɐl/). In polite or formal contexts it would be seen as abrasive and rude, so an 'uke' can be added after it to make it sound less unfriendly. Alternatively, the 'uke' can come first to increase the politeness further.

Saimo na lesiti, haa? 'Do you want some tea?'
Alal(, uke)./ Uke, (moji) alal. 'No (thanks)/ No, (but) thanks.'
Want-COND 2S tea-IDR, Q

Offers and acceptance of offers

Mixed speech registers

These can sometimes be mixed to create e.g. a semi-formal register. Most commonly, a stranger or person older than the speaker might be addressed with the second person collective pronoun fan, but the conversation would otherwise use the neutral register. Formal expression might be used for humorous effect in casual conversations, and vice versa the informal register can be used to be intentionally rude in contexts that would require the humble speech register.

Other questions-related pragmatics

No, haa? ('Are you sure?') is a widely used phrase and indicates the speaker isn't sure whether to believe an answer to a question.