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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

A Descriptive Analysis of Bikol Direct Interrogatives


Jonel Nicole A. Jao
This is a description of the direct interrogatives in Standard Bikol.
The direct interrogatives are divided into five types, according to how
they are answered, (1) Yes-no interrogatives, (2) Tag-questions, (3)
Alternative interrogatives, (4) Constituent interrogatives, and (5)
Echo questions. This paper presents the structure of the
interrogatives and describes the possible answers to these
interrogatives.
1.0

Introduction

Although there have been numerous studies about the Bikol language, (i.e. McFarland 1974,
Lobel 2000 & Mintz 1971), the structures of the interrogatives of this language have not been
described thoroughly. McFarland (1974) concentrated on the variations of the dialects interrogative
words. Lobel (2000) only listed the respective cases and pluralizations of the question words, while
Mintz (1971) discussed the interrogatives according to intonation change and question words,
samples were given but the structures have not been discussed.
This paper describes some of the structure of the direct interrogatives in Standard Bikol. The
sample sentences given in this paper are written in International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)
transcription. The rising intonation mostly used in interrogatives is presented using an upward arrow
sign (). This paper also attempts to describe the possible answers to the questions given as samples.
2.0.

Interrogatives

An interrogative normally elicits information or draws affirmation or denial from a statement.


It can be classified as direct or indirect. A direct interrogative can occur independently and ends with
a question mark. An indirect interrogative, on the other hand, does not end with a question mark,
and contains a relative clause introduced by words such as if, how, etc., that is dependent on a main
clause (Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1996).
Bikol direct interrogatives may be classified into five types, according to how these questions
are usually answered. These five types are (1) Yes-no interrogatives, (2) Tag-questions, (3)
Alternative interrogatives, (4) Constituent interrogatives, and (5) Echo questions.
Yes-no interrogatives are discussed in section 2.1, tag-questions in section 2.2, alternative
interrogatives in section 2.3, constituent interrogatives in section 2.4 and echo questions in section
2.5.
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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

2.1.

Yes-no interrogatives

Yes-no interrogatives, as implied by its name, is expected to be answered by either yes or no


(Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics, 1996), however there are some cases when the
response is maybe or a word similar to it, expressing uncertainty. Yes-no interrogatives are also
known as polar questions (Dryer, 2005).
Changing the intonation of a statement to a rising intonation will make it into an
interrogative sentence. Mintz (1971) has divided these statements into four, according to how they
are answered1; (1) verbal sentences, (2) equational sentences, (3) igwa/may (existential/possessive)
sentences and (4) gusto (want) sentences.
2.1.1. Verbal sentences
A verbal sentence has a verb as its predicate head (Peneyra, 1992). These sentences have a
VP+NP structure and become interrogatives when their intonation is changed into a rising
intonation. Verbal interrogatives are answerable by iyo yes, and dai no.
In sample (1) nagtindug is the VP and an aki is the NP
(1) nag-tindug
an
aki
ACTFOC.PFV-stand DET child
Did the child stand up?
In sample (2), nagduman sa haru is the VP, where sa haru is the complement of nagduman, and an
dara:ga is the NP
(2) nag-duman
sa
haru an
dara:ga
ACTFOC.PFV-go
LM
house DET maiden
Did the maiden go into the house?
2.1.2. Equational Sentences
Equational sentences have a noun or noun phrases as subject and predicate, the predicate is
usually sentence initial and is followed by the subject. The predicate may also be an adjective (Mintz,
1971). Changing the intonation of an equational sentence into a rising intonation will make it into an

Some words such as I have, dont have or I like have specific words in Bikol as well as other Philippine languages. If
youre going to ask Do you have a pen? and the answer is no, instead of baku or dai which translates to no, one
would answer mayo which means I have none. This will be explained further later.
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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

interrogative. Questions derived from equational sentences are answerable by iyo yes, and baku
no.
Sample (1) is in an NP+NP structure, an aki is first NP and an nagtindug is the second. nagtindug
is a nominalized verb, a verb that functions as a noun.
(1) an
aki an
nag-tindug
DET child DET ACTFOC.PFV-stand
Is the child the one who stood?
Sample (2) is also in an NP+NP structure, abuga:du and an tu:ga niya are the NPs respectively.
(2) abuga:du
an
tu:ga niya
lawyer
DET sibling 3SG
Is his sibling a lawyer?
Sample (3) is in an Adj+NP structure, mahi:gus is the adj while an dara:ga is the NP
(3) ma-hi:gus
HAVING.THE.QUALITY.OF-hard.work
Is the maiden hard-working?

an
dara:ga
DET maiden

2.1.3. Existential sentences


Existential sentences indicate existence, such as there is x. These may be followed by a
locative phrase. Existential sentences may also express possession, such as I have x. The particles
igwa there is/have or may there is/have are used to denote existence or possession. Only igwa is
used before personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns and particles, while both igwa and may can
be used before nouns, verbs, and adjectives.
Existential interrogatives are answerable by igwa, literally translated as there is or x has,
and by mayo which means theres none or x doesnt have. iyo may also be used to answer yes.
Compare sample (1) and (2), notice that they are asking the same question, Do you have a pencil?,
but they used igwa and may respectively to denote possession. igwa appears in sample (1) because it
is followed by a personal pronoun while may appears in sample (2) because it is followed by a noun.
(1) igwa ka-
lapis
exist 2SG-LNK
pencil
Do you have a pencil?
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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

(2) may lapis ka


exist pencil 2SG
Do you have a pencil?

igwa is used in samples (3) and (4) because it appears before a demonstrative pronoun and particle
respectively. Note that may cannot be used to replace igwa here.
(3) igwa duma-
ta:wu
exist over.there-LNK
person
Is there a person over there?
(4) igwa dala na-gadan
exist PRT ACTFOC.PFV-die
(I heard) there is someone who died?
In samples (5) and (6) igwa or may may be used because the word that comes after it is a noun and
verb respectively.
(5) igwa-
ta:wu sa
haru
exist-LNK
person LM
house
Is there someone in the house?
may ta:wu sa
haru
exist person LM
house
Is there someone in the house?
(6) igwa-
nag-ka~kakan
exist-LNK
ACTFOC-IPFV~eat
Is there someone eating?
may nag-ka~kakan
exist ACTFOC-IPFV~eat
Is there someone eating?
2.1.4. Want sentences
Want sentences express what one likes/wants or does not like/want. The words gustu want
and habu do not want are used to indicate want and does not want respectively. These words
usually appear initially in a sentence. When want sentences are changed into a rising intonation, they
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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

become interrogatives. Gusto interrogatives are answerable by gustu which literally translates to want
or like or habu which means do not want or do not like. iyo or yes may also be used to indicate
that one likes/wants.
(1) gustu ni
pi:dru ni
malau:tu
want DET Pedro DET rice
Does Pedro want rice?
(2) gustu-
mag-dala:gan
want-LNK
ACTFOC.IPFV-run
Does the bachelor want to run?

kan
sulti:ru
DET bachelor

2.1.5. Negative yes-no interrogative


This type of interrogative is a yes-no interrogative with a negative element present in its
structure. It is different from a positive yes-no interrogative because NI 2 questions convey a
backgrounded attitude on the part of the speaker toward the proposition expressed by a positive
answer (it) conveys a prior belief toward the issue raised by the question NI questions (also)
display an ambiguity that PI 3 questions do not (Reese, 2006). In Bikol, the negative element is
usually sentence initial.
2.1.5.1. Negative verbal sentences
dai is usually used to express negation in verbal sentences
(1) dai nag-duman
sa
haru an
dara:ga
NEG ACTFOC.PFV-go
LM
house DET maiden
Didnt the maiden go into the house?
2.1.5.2. Negative equational sentences
baku is usually used to express negation in equational sentences
(1) baku an
aki an
nag-tindug
NEG DET child DET ACTFOC.PFV-stand
Isnt the child the one who stood?

2
3

Negative interrogative
Positive interrogative
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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

(2) baku-
abuga:du
NEG-LNK lawyer
Isnt his sibling a lawyer?

an
tu:ga niya
DET sibling 3SG

(3) baku-
ma-hi:gus
NEG-LNK HAVING.THE.QUALITY.OF-hard.work
Isnt the maiden hard-working?

an
dara:ga
DET maiden

2.1.5.3. Negative existential sentences


mayu is used to express negation in existential sentences
(1) ma:yu-
ta:wu sa
NEG.exist-LNK
person LM
Isnt there someone in the house?
(2) mayu
ka-
NEG.exist
2SG-LNK
Dont you have a pencil?

haru
house

lapis
pencil

2.1.5.4. Negative want sentences


habu is used to express negation in want sentences
(1) habu
mu
ni
malau:tu
NEG.want
2SG DET rice
Dont you want rice?
2.2. Tag-questions
Tag-questions are declarative statements modified into questions by adding an interrogative
fragment at the end. Tag-questions are used to elicit assurance or affirmation regarding the
proposition. Often it expresses the bias of the speaker towards one answer (Glossary of Linguistic
Terms, 2004).
Unlike in English where tag-questions are formed whether the proposition to be confirmed
is affirmative or negative and tense or auxiliaries are taken into account (Schachter & Otanes, 1972),
Bikol does not have these variations. Bikol tag-questions usually appear at the end of the proposition.
These tag-questions are baku and anu.

Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

(1) a
si
pi:dru baku
3SG DET Pedro not
He is Pedro, is he not?
(2) saa:ga
an
kasal
ni
se:lya anu
tomorrow
DET wedding
DET Selya what
Tomorrow is the wedding of Selya, right?
2.3. Alternative interrogative
Alternative interrogatives offer two or more alternative answers present in the inquiry itself.
The alternative conjunction o (or in English) is used to separate the two options (Schachter &
Otanes, 1972).
(1) anu an
gustu mu, maga o
what DET want 2SG mango or
What do you want, mango or banana?

batag
banana

2.4. Constituent interrogative


Constituent interrogatives are used to elicit information. Interrogative words substitute for
an unknown element X in a sentence. This unknown constituent will be occupied by the answer
afterwards. Constituent interrogatives are also known as wh-questions.
The following is a list of Bikol interrogatives, the orthography, IPA transcriptions and
translations of the interrogative words are presented respectively.
Ano
Arin
Kasuarin
Nuarin
Haen
Saen
Pira
Gurano
Gaano
Paano
Siisay
Niisay

/anu/
/arin/
/kasuarin/
/nuarin/
/ha:in/
/sain/
/pira/
/guranu/
/ganu/
/panu/
/sii:say/
/nii:say/

what
which
when (in the past)
when (in the future)
where (location)
where (direction)
how many
how much (price)
how much (quantity)
how (manner)
who(m)
whose, who(m)
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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

Kiisay
Tano

/kii:say/
/tanu/

whose, who(m)
why

Some Bikol interrogatives can be pluralized. Pluralized interrogatives expect plural answers.
anu
arin
pira
sain
sii:say
nii:say
kii:say

anuanu
arinarin
pira pira
sain sain
sairi:say
nairi:say
kairi:say

According to McFarland (1974), these interrogatives usually appear as the first element in an
information question. In this section, the question words and their respective sample answers will be
in bold.
2.4.1. anu

anu means what, it may be an interrogative substitute for an (1) unmarked noun, (2)
adjective, (3) the base of a ma-adjective and (4) a verb base. anu is usually the predicate of an
equational sentence (Schachter & Otanes, 1972).
In samples (1) and (2) anu is in the predicate position and is answered with an unmarked noun
(1) anu
an
b-in-akal
what
DET OBJFOC.PFV-buy
What did you buy?

mu
2SG

sisi
an
b-in-akal
ring
DET OBJFOC.PFV-buy
I bought a ring

ku
2SG

(2) anu
ini
what
this
Whats this?

Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

lapis
ini
pencil
this
This is a pencil

anu may also be used as a substitute of the base of ma-adjectives and verbs (Schachter &
Otanes 1972, McFarland 1974). In this paper, we shall call them inflected interrogatives.
(3) ma-anu
HAVING.THE.QUALITY.OF-what
What is Pedro like?

si
pi:dru
DET Pedro

ma-puti
HAVING.THE.QUALITY.OF-white
Pedro is fair-skinned

si
pi:dru
DET Pedro

As a substitute for a verb base, anu may occur with all aspects but only to some verbal affixes. Here
are some samples:
(4) nag-anu
si
pi:dru
ACTFOC-what DET Pedro
What did Pedro do?
nag-tindug
ACTFOC-stand
Pedro stood up

si
pi:dru
DET Pedro

(5) na-anu
si
pi:dru
ACTFOC-what DET Pedro
What happened to Pedro?
na-dapla
ACTFOC-slip
Pedro slipped

si
pi:dru
DET Pedro

(6) in-anu
ini
ni
pi:dru
OBJFOC-what this
DET Pedro
What did Pedro do with this?

Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

k<in>akan
ini
<OBJFOC>eat this
Pedro ate this

ni
pi:dru
DET Pedro

2.4.2. arin

arin means which, it occurs as an interrogative counterpart of an (1) unmarked noun, (2)
demonstrative pronoun and an (3) adjective. arin appears as a predicate or modifier in a structure. It
may seem quite similar to anu but arin lays out choices, either stated or implied, unlike anu which
can be answered by anything as long as it falls in its semantic and grammatical category. arin
however, is not used to in reference to people, even though choices are layed out, siisay who is
used instead (Schachter & Otanes, 1972). Thus in sample (1),
(1) siisay si
pi:dru, an
mataba o
an
maniwa
who DET Pedro DET fat
or
DET thin
Which is Pedro, the fat one or the thin one?
In sample (2), arin appears as a modifier of palda and is answered with ini, a demonstrative
pronoun
(2) ari-
palda an
gustu mu
which-LNK skirt DET like
2SG
Which skirt do you like?
ini-
palda an
gustu ku
this-LNK
skirt DET like
1SG
This skirt is the one I like
In sample (3), arin appears as a predicate and is answered with maga, an unmarked noun
(3) arin an
mas gustu mu,
maga o
which DET more like
2SG mango or
Which do you like better, mango or banana

batag
banana

maga an mas gustu ku


mango DET more like
2SG
I like mango better

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

2.4.3. Time questions


There are two time questions in Bikol, kasu arin and nu arin, both are used as the
interrogative counterparts of time adverbs and time adverb phrases (Schachter & Otanes, 1972).
kasuarin is used for the past tense while nuarin is used for the future tense. kasuarin ang nuarin
appears in the predicate position becoming the main focus of the sentence and is a pseudo-predicate
as Schachter and Otanes calls it.
The kasuarin and nu arin in samples (1) and (2) appear as pseudo-predicates. They are in the
predicate position but they are not real predicates
(1) kasuarin
nagpa-bulu sa
uspital
when
PFV-medicine LM
hospital
When did Pedro get treated in the hospital?
(2) nuarin
ma-duman
sa
when
IPFV-go
LM
When will Pedro go to Manila?

si
pi:dru
DET Pedro

maynila si
pi:dru
Manila DET Pedro

Samples (1) and (2) may be answered with time phrases. These time phrases are peripherals; particles,
words or phrases that only add information to the sentence, they are extra-nuclear constituents that
are detachable from the sentence, thus time phrases can occur anywhere in the sentence (Cubar &
Cubar, 1994).
For example, in sample (1), if Pedro got treated in the hospital the other day, we can put kan saro
aldaw, the other day,
(here) nagpa-bulu (here) sa
PFV-medicine
LM

uspital
hospital

(here) si
pi:dru (or here)
DET Pedro

and the response will still be grammatical.


In sample (3) below, nuarin is not a peripheral, but a part of the predicate acting as a complement
of a deleted verb more likely to be to occur on. It would appear that it is an equational sentence.
Notice that the subject of this sentence, instead of an actor, is an event an kasal the wedding,
compare to sample (1) and (2) above where si pi:dru is the subject. Thus in (3) the answer to the
question will fill the nuarin slot and cannot occur elsewhere.

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

(3) (occur on)

nuarin
an
kasal
ni
se:lya
when
DET wedding
DET Selya
When (will) the wedding of Selya (occur)?/When is the wedding of Selya?
saa:ga
an
kasal
ni
se:lya
tomorrow
DET wedding
DET Selya
The wedding of Selya (will occur) tomorrow/Tomorrow is the wedding of Selya

For specific times of a day, (i.e. 9:00 am), anu u:ras what time is used.
2.4.4. Locative questions
There are two locative questions in Bikol, hain and sain.
hain asks where is the location of something/someone or where does something/someone
exists. hain is an interrogative substitute to locative noun phrases, nasa + N, where N is a location.
hain usually appears as the predicate in an equational sentence.
In sample (1), hain appears as the predicate of the sentence and is answered by nasa haru, a locative
noun phrase
(1) hain an
aki
where DET child
Where is my child?

ku
1SG

nasa haru an
aki
LM
house DET child
Your child is in the house

mu
2SG

sa in asks where an action is done or will be done. It is the interrogative counterpart for
directional complements and locative adverb phrases.
The answers in samples (2) and (3) are peripherals, thus they can occur anywhere (cf. 2.4.3).
In sample (2) sain is an interrogative substitute for the directional complement sa daet
(2) sain nag-duman
an
saimo-
where ACTFOC.PFV-go
DET 2SG.REFL-LNK
Where did the one you love go?

namomotan
lover

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

nag-duman
an
sako-
ACTFOC.PFV-go
DET 1SG-LNK
The one I love went to Daet.

namomotan
lover

sa
LM

daet
Daet

In sample (3), sain is an interrogative substitute for the locative adverb phrase sa haru
(3) sain nag-ka~kakan
nin
maga an
aki
where ACTFOC-IPFV~eat DET mango DET child
Where is the child eating a mango?
nag-ka~kakan
nin
maga an
aki sa
ACTFOC-IPFV~eat DET mango DET child LM
The child is eating a mango in the house.

haru
house

In sample (4), sain is already a part of the predicate acting as a complement of a deleted verb more
likely to be to take place in. It would appear that it is an equational sentence. Notice that the subject
of this sentence, instead of an actor, is an event an kasal the wedding, compare to sample (2)
above where an saimo- namomotan is the subject. Thus in (4) the answer to the question will fill the
sain slot and cannot occur elsewhere.
(4) (take place in) sain an
kasal
ni
se:lya
where DET wedding
DET Selya
Where is Selyas wedding?/Where will Selyas wedding occur?
sa
da:et an
kasal
ni
se:lya
LM
Daet DET wedding
DET Selya
The wedding of Selya (will take place in) Daet/The wedding of Selya is in Daet
2.4.5. Number questions
The number questions in Bikol are pira and guranu
pira is how many, it can appear as a predicate of an equational sentence or as a modifier. It
is an interrogative substitute for quantity in cardinal numbers.

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

In sample (1), pira appears as a predicate and substitutes for the cardinal number pitu.
(1) pira
an
gustu mag-inum
how.many
DET want ACTFOC.IPFV-drink
How many wants to drink?
pitu
an
gustu-
mag-inum
seven DET want-LNK
IPFV-drink
Seven (people) wants to drink
In sample (2), pira appears as a modifier of ta:wu and substitutes for the cardinal number pitu.
(2) pira-
ta:wu an
ma-duman
how.many-LNK
people DET ACTFOC.IPFV-go
How many people will go?
pitu-
ta:wu an
ma-duman
seven-LNK people DET ACTFOC.IPFV-go
Seven people will go.
guranu is how much but it asks the price instead of the quality or quantity of a thing. It
appears as a predicate of an equational sentence. It is an interrogative substitute for price.
In samples (1) and (2), guranu appears as a predicate of an equational sentence and is answered with
piso, a price.
(1) guranu
an
lapis
how.much
DET pencil
How much is the pencil?
piso an
lapis
peso DET pencil
The pencil is one peso

14

Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

(2) guranu
ini
how.much
this
How much is this?
piso iyan
peso that
Thats one peso.
2.4.6. ganu
ganu is an interrogative counterpart of demonstrative pronouns a:rug kaini, kai:yan and
kaidtu. In the older community, si:ri is used instead of a:rug. These demonstrative pronouns have
the meaning of similar to this/that. a:rug ka ini may be directly translated as like this. ga nu
appears before a word consisting of ka- and an adjective base (Schachter & Otanes, 1972). The kahere means to what extent or degree (i.e. how tall, how sharp, how strong).
In sample (1), ga nu appears in the ga nu plus ka+adj structure and is answered with the
demonstrative pronoun a:rug kaini
(1) ganu ka-lakaw
an
sampaluk
how degree.of.being-high DET tamarind
How high is the tamarind (tree)?
a:rug kaini ka-lakaw
like
this
degree.of.being-high
The tamarind (tree) is like this high

an
sampaluk
DET tamarind

In sample (2), ga nu appears in the ga nu plus ka+adv structure and is answered with the
demonstrative pronoun a:rug kaini
(2) ganu ka-halu:y
nag-lakaw
an
sulti:ru
how DEGREE.OF.BEING-slow ACTFOC.PFV-walk DET bachelor
How slow did the bachelor walk?
a:rug kaini ka-halu:y
nag-lakaw
an
sulti:ru
like
this
DEGREE.OF.BEING-slow ACTFOC.PFV-walk DET bachelor
The bachelor walked like this slow

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

2.4.7. panu
pa nu is the interrogative counterpart for (1) pa-adjective and the (2) adverb of manner
(Schachter & Otanes, 1972).
In sample (1), panu is answered with the pa-adjective pakurahaw and an adverb of manner luway
respectively.
(1) panu
t<in>araman
ni
se:lya si
pi:dru
how
<OBJFOC.PFV>reprimand DET Selya DET Pedro
How did Selya reprimand Pedro?
pa-kurahaw
na
t<in>araman
ni
se:lya si
pi:dru
MANNER.OF-shout LNK <OBJFOC.PFV>reprimand DET Selya DET Pedro
Selya reprimanded Pedro in a shouting manner.
luway
na
t<in>araman
ni
se:lya si
pi:dru
calm
LNK <OBJFOC.PFV>reprimand DET Selya DET Pedro
Selya reprimanded Pedro calmly.
2.4.8. People questions
sii:say, kii:say, and nii:say are placed in people questions because they are interrogative
substitutes for people.
sii:say who, whom is an interrogative counterpart for si + proper name, an + human noun
and nominative personal pronouns, aku, ika, a, kami, kita, kamu, sinda. It usually appears as a
predicate in an equational sentence.
(1) sii:say
an
saiya-
who
DET 3SG-LNK
Who is his son?

aki-
child-LNK

lalaki
male

si
pi:dru an
saiya-
DET Pedro DET 3SG-LNK
Pedro is his son

aki-
child-LNK

lalaki
male

16

Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

nii:say means whose, whom, it is commonly used as the interrogative counterpart of the ni
+ personal name, kan + human noun, and genitive personal pronouns, ku, mu, nyamo, mi, nyato, ta,
nindo, ninda. The answers of nii:say represents the possessor of an object or the non-focus actor of
an object focus verb.
In sample (2) nii:say is an interrogative representing the possessor pi:dru
(2) haru nii:say
ini
house whose
this
Whose house is this?
haru ni
pi:dru ini
house DET Pedro this
This house is Pedros
In sample (3), ni isay is used as an interrogative representing the non-focus actor (pi:dru) of the
object focus verb gini:bu
(3) g<in>i:bu
<OBJFOC.PFV>make
Who made this hat?
g<in>i:bu
<OBJFOC.PFV>make
Pedro made this hat.

nii:say
who

an
sombrero
DET hat

na
ini
LNK this

ni
pi:dru an
sombrero
DET Pedro DET hat

na
ini
LNK this

kii:say means whose, who or whom, it is the interrogative counterpart for all ki + personal
name, sa + human noun and oblique personal pronouns, saku , sakuya , sa i:mu, sa i:ya, samu ,
samu:ya , satu , satu:ya , sa indu, sa inda. There are several possible structures for ki i:say
interrogatives, some are illustrated below.
(4) kii:say ni
pi:dru k<in>ao
who DET Pedro <OBJFOC.PFV>give
To whom did Pedro give the money to?
sa
aki ni
pi:dru k<in>ao
LM
child DET Pedro <OBJFOC.PFV>give
Pedro gave the money to the child.

an
kwarta
DET money

an
kwarta
DET money

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

In sample (5), kii:say appears as a predicate and is answered with ki + the personal name pi:dru
(5) kii:say
an
sapatos na
ini
who
DET shoes LNK this
To whom do these shoes belong to?
ki
pi:dru an
sapatos na
ini
DET Pedro DET shoes LNK this
These shoes belong to Pedro.
In sample (6), kii:say appears as a possessive modifier of sapatos and is answered with ki + the
personal name pi:dru
(6) kii:say na
sapatos ini
who LNK shoes this
Whose shoes are these?
ki
pi:dru na
sapatos ini
DET Pedro DET shoes this
These shoes are Pedros
2.4.9. tanu
tanu means why, it is the interrogative counterpart of ta + reason/s. tanu may have come
from the word ta because and anu what thus forming because of what. tanu can come alone
but usually it is followed by the particle ta.
If tanu comes alone, the clause after tanu can be deleted and be implied. However if we use tanu
ta, the ta in tanu ta requires a clause to come after it.
(1) tanu ta
nag-i:rit
an
sulti:ru
why PRT ACTFOC.PFV-laugh DET bachelor
Why did the bachelor laugh?
nag-i:rit
an
sulti:ru ta
na-dapla
an dara:ga
ACTFOC.PFV-laugh DET bachelor because ACTFOC.PFV-slip DET maiden
The bachelor laughed because the maiden slipped.

18

Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

tad aw ta is ta nu and daw merged together. daw is a particle which gives the meaning of I
wonder, it can be a direct question marker or simply an indication of a rhetorical question, as if
one is wondering out loud (Lobel & Tria, 2000).
(2) ta-daw
ta
na-agot
kamo
why-PRT
PRT ACTFOC.PFV-angry you
Why did you get angry?
1.5.

Echo questions

In an echo question, the expected answer is the complete or partial repetition of something
already said by the person addressed (Schachter & Otanes, 1972), it is a question that occurs in the
turn after a repairable utterance, and repeats the portion felt by the speaker to need repair. (Glossary
of Linguistic Terms, 2004)
When asking the repetition of the whole previous utterance, one can ask, anu what?, anu
an sinabi mu What did you say? or in informal situations, ha huh? (Schachter & Otanes, 1972).
When asking for the repetition of a specific information from the previous utterance, one
may begin the question with an interrogative word, selecting the interrogative substitute used for the
particular thing the speaker wants repeated (Schachter & Otanes, 1972). Thus when the speaker
utters this sentence,
nag-duman
sa
haru an
dara:ga kan saro-
aldaw
ACTFOC.PFV-go
LM
house DET maiden last one-LNK day
The maiden went to the house the day before yesterday
one may ask any of these, depending on the information he wants repeated:
for the action, sample (1)
(1) nag-anu
(sa
haru) an
dara:ga (kan saro-
aldaw)
ACTFOC.PFV-what LM
house DET maiden last one-LNK day
What did the maiden do (in the house the day before yesterday)?
for the directional complement, sample (2)
(2) sain (nag-duman
an
dara:ga kan saro-
aldaw)
where ACTFOC.PFV-go
DET maiden last one-LNK day
Where (did the maiden go the day before yesterday)?
19

Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

for the actor, sample (3)


(3) sii:say (an nag-duman
sa
haru kan saro-
aldaw)
who DET ACTFOC.PFV-go
LM
house last one-LNK day
Who (went to the house the day before yesterday)?
for the time adverb, sample (4)
(4) kasuarin
(nag-duman
sa
when
ACTFOC.PFV-go
LM
When (did the maiden go to the house)?

haru an
dara:ga)
house DET maiden

Stating the original utterance and just substituting the specific information to be repeated is also
possible, thus if the speaker uttered the sentence,
saa:ga
an
kasal
ni
se:lya
tomorrow
DET wedding
DET Selya
Tomorrow is the wedding of Selya.
one can ask,
(1) saa:ga
an
anu ni
sel:ya
tomorrow
DET what DET Selya
Tomorrows the what of Selya?
(2) saa:ga
an
kasal
tomorrow
DET wedding
Tomorrows the wedding of who?

nii:say
who

Inflected interrogatives may also be used for echo questions,


(1) gustu mu
kan
ma-anu
babai
like
2SG DET HAVING.THE.QUALITY.OF-what woman
You like what kind of woman?

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

3.0. Conclusion
This paper has described the basic direct interrogatives in Bikol. Bikol direct interrogatives
are divided into five types, according to how they are answered, (1) Yes-no interrogatives, (2) Tagquestions, (3) Alternative interrogatives, (4) Constituent interrogatives, and (5) Echo questions.
All statements can be changed into yes-no interrogatives by changing its intonation to a
rising tone. The negative element in negative yes-no interrogatives usually appear as the first element
in the sentence, but why this is so, it has not been stated since it is not the main focus of this paper.
In constituent interrogatives, the interrogative word is usually sentence-initial, with exceptions such
as nii:say. Constituent interrogatives can be answered by replacing the interrogative word itself, in
the same position but some questions like sain, kasuarin and nuarin which appear as peripherals
can be answered in any position. Inflected interrogatives can be further studied in the future, only
anu has been tackled in this paper as the data are limited, but other interrogative words can be used
as roots such as sain as mentioned by McFarland in 1974.
Abbreviations:
1SG 1st person singular pronoun
2SG 2nd person singular pronoun
3SG 3rd person singular pronoun
ACTFOC actor focus
Adj adjective
DET determiner
IPFV imperfective
LM locative marker

LNK linker
NP noun phrase
OBJFOC object focus
PFV perfective
PRT particle
REFL reflexive
VP verb phrase

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Jao: Bikol Direct Interrogatives

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