The Spem conlang
The Spem conlang: questions
Boolean questions are easy: kɑ means "whether"; so a sentence that starts with kɑ is asking if it's the case.
Free-form questions, using "what", are the most important. The word is kem, and it always takes the place of what it takes the place of:
"What did you find?" = "ɑn ŋi nuvi kem" Literally: "You found what?"
Compare English syntax, in which the question goes at the front regardless of how the sentence is formatted: "kem ɑn ŋi nuvi".
Words like when, where, and why, are very straightfoward because they reduce to shortcuts for what. "Where" is "at what", for example. And since they're prepositional phrases in disguise, they can just go at the beginning.
- kan - why (cause) (kem zo)
- kɪv - why (motive) (vi kem)
- kun - how (means) (ku kem)
- kɪl - how (degree) (lu kem)
- kev - for how long (vel kem)
- maybe: kyɑ(n/l/m) - how (manner). "yɑ kem". Do we need this? It doesn't seem that useful, and seems to create the impression that it has a distinct meaning when it doesn't. After all, there are always infinite possible answers to such a question.
To turn any of these into the relative version ("I left *when* I heard the bell"), insert a y after the k.
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