a simple "no" as tag question

< Previous | Next >

Encolpius

Senior Member
Hungarian
Good morning ladies & getntelem, I wonder if you can use a simple "no" nohting mor as tag question in different languages. I have checked some dictionaries and found out it is quite common in Romance langauges. How about other languages. There has been a similar thread about tag questions here, but I am interested only in a simple no. I have the feeling it is quite a colloquial & expressive tag question but so much the better. Here go some example I have found in Oxford dictionaries or known.
Hungarian: Megyünk, nem? (Are we going, no?)
Czech: Jedeme, ne? (the same)
Spanish: Está mejor, no?
French: C'est difficile, non?
Italian: Lo farai, no?
German: Du gehst doch jetzt noch nicht, nein?
(The black sheep of the list they use no-no)
Thanks for your cooperation and have a productive day
Encolpius from Prague
 
  • gato radioso

    Senior Member
    spanish-spain
    As far as Spanish is concerned, your input is perfectly natural, although we sometimes replace it with "¿verdad?"

    El viaje tarda tres horas ¿no?
    El viaje tarda tres horas ¿verdad?


    I guess that in a written context we´d tend to use more elaborated structures, but in spoken language, especially in colloquial contexts, when the concrete situation can explain many things by itself, the shortest the better.
     

    Zec

    Senior Member
    Croatian
    Simple no as a tag question is a stereotypical feature of the Zagreb dialect, e.g. the very stereotypical Kužiš, ne? 'You get it, no?' (unfortunately, I don't feel confident inventing a less stereotypical example). In standard Croatian the tag question is zar ne, with an emphatic particle.
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    The three common possibilities in Catalan: no, yes, truth.

    no - Vindràs demà, no? ('You'll come tomorrow, no?')​
    oi [Catalan cognate of French oui and Occitan oc; from Latin hoc] - Vindràs demà, oi? ('You'll come tomorrow, yes?')​
    veritat - Vindràs demà, veritat? ('You'll come tomorrow, truth?) [This one is more common among Valencians]
     

    merquiades

    Senior Member
    English (USA Northeast)
    It sounds a bit foreign to add no? to the end of a sentence to make a question in English. It's usually done with right? sometimes eh?
    You're coming, right? The trip lasts 2 hours, right?
     

    Awwal12

    Senior Member
    Russian
    In Russian "идём, нет?" (lit. "we're going, no?") works as well. It isn't as inquisitive as the usual question tags, and is more soft and indifferent than "are we going or not".
     

    Penyafort

    Senior Member
    Catalan (Catalonia), Spanish (Spain)
    It sounds a bit foreign to add no? to the end of a sentence to make a question in English. It's usually done with right? sometimes eh?
    You're coming, right? The trip lasts 2 hours, right?
    I can assure you that many British and American expats in Spain end up adopting that no? :p
     

    Red Arrow

    Senior Member
    Dutch - Belgium
    This is sometimes used in Dutch:
    "Dat was de bedoeling, nee?"
    => This implies that you think that the person you are speaking to disagrees.

    The modal particle "toch" is more common:
    "Dat was toch de bedoeling?"
    "Dat was de bedoeling, toch?"

    => You are asking if they agree, without guessing what their response will be.
     
    Greek:

    «Θα πάμε, ή όχι [θa ˈpa.me i ˈɔ.çi?] --> Shall we ɡo, or not?
    Sometimes the adverb «μήπως» [ˈmi.pɔs] precedes «όχι» as emphasis: «θα πάμε, ή μήπως όχι --> Shall we go, or perhaps not?
     

    Dymn

    Senior Member
    I have checked some dictionaries and found out it is quite common in Romance langauges.
    Not my language but in Portuguese I don't think "não?" as a question tag is a thing really. You would use "não é?" (or its short form "?"), as well as echoing the verb in the negative ("fala português, não fala?"), or "certo?" (true?), or in Portugal "pois não?" with sentences that are negative.

    In German I find "oder?" or "ne?" /nə/ to be the most common.
     

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    Russian has нет as well as не. The former may demand a more definite answer, and is preferred in rhetorical questions (ты дурак, нет? "are you an idiot or what?") the latter is often used as a politeness marker to reduce insistence with imperatives, especially in 1p plural: идём, не? "shall we go?". Thus ты дурак, не? would be a milder "are you an idiot by chance?". It's also very colloquial.

    Latin has a rich array of various discourse particles:
    • There's a choice parallel to Russian: an nōn "or not?" is quite insistent, demanding an answer or action, while nōn is a more tentative/inquisitive/polite option. Come to think of it, though, I don't think I've ever met or used the latter with imperatives. I'd be more inclined to use a simple an? (like German oder?) as a backchannel to indicate I'm waiting for an answer.
    • There's also necne?, which isn't used as a tag at all but demands an articulate answer.
    • Another option in Latin is sticking the enclitic -ne to the most important word, typically the verb, which is then fronted: ambulāmusne? "so are we going?". It's quite emphatic and used in topic switches etc. In fact, despite resembling a negative and often being misrepresented as such, from the looks of it it's an emphatic particle in origin.
    • Yet another common particle is quīn "why don't <you> just?": quid stās, lapis? quīn accipis? "don't stand there like a dummy! are you taking it or not?"; quīn ūnō verbō dīc "just say it in a word!".
    • Then there's num, which is normally explained as expecting a negative answer, and this is true, but only to an extent - it's virtually equivalent to the German etwa.
    • Finally one can introduce a question with ecquid "you do, don't you?" and numquid "you don't, do you?" (also ecquis? for "is anybody?" etc). These are very emphatic indeed, and could be softened by forte "perchance", although I've never actually encountered this.
      • Actually I just have, in Cicero: percontantibus nōbīs ecquid forte Rōma novī "when I asked if there happened to be any news from Rome", literally "if Rome [had produced] anything new" showcasing the famed Roman brevity - or it could be Rōmā "from Rome".
     
    Last edited:

    Sobakus

    Senior Member
    I just had to forget the most common Latin tag, the one that came to mind first: nōnne, which is the usual negative nōn + the emphatic -ne mentioned above. It's very much like the English isn't it, German nich wahr?, Italian vero?, Spanish ¿verdad?, Portuguese não é?. Like (I think) all of these and unlike Russian не(т), it can't be used with imperative main clauses (the so-called 'anchors') because it makes a sort of a statement, so not in OP's example "shall we go?". It does work fine with declarative, interrogative and exclamative ones:
    nōndum proficīscimur, nōnne? "we aren't departing yet, are we?" (asked in surprise or to make sure that we don't).​
    difficile est, nōnne?(!) "it's difficult, isn't it?"​
     

    Conchita57

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain/French - Switzerland
    As far as Spanish is concerned, your input is perfectly natural, although we sometimes replace it with "¿verdad?"

    El viaje tarda tres horas ¿no?
    El viaje tarda tres horas ¿verdad?


    I guess that in a written context we´d tend to use more elaborated structures, but in spoken language, especially in colloquial contexts, when the concrete situation can explain many things by itself, the shortest the better.
    Also:
    - ¿a que sí?/¿a que no?
    - ¿verdad que sí?/¿verdad que no?
    - ¿no crees?
    - ¿no es así?/¿no es cierto? (more formal)
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    ... doesn't sound very idiomatic. In these cases we prefer the tag question " ,oder?"
    ", nein?" as a tag question does not exist in German (only in inapt translations maybe).
    I must confess I had problems with nein, too, but the colloquial word is "ne", maybe regional. I hear ne in films a lot.
     

    Conchita57

    Senior Member
    Spanish - Spain/French - Switzerland
    Not my language but in Portuguese I don't think "não?" as a question tag is a thing really. You would use "não é?" (or its short form "?"), as well as echoing the verb in the negative ("fala português, não fala?"), or "certo?" (true?), or in Portugal "pois não?" with sentences that are negative.

    In German I find "oder?" or "ne?" /nə/ to be the most common.
    In Bavaria, they use the term "gell?" (pronounced "kel") a lot.
     

    Encolpius

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Hello Frider, it's getting too complicated and very interesting now. I have really thought nee and ne is the same.
    So Duden says:
    1. ne, nee (umgangssprachlich): nein
    2. ne [nə] Fragepartikel, ugs.: nicht (wahr)
    The funny thing seems to be you can pronounce ne in two dfferent ways.
    Do you agree?
    I think am going to open a thread in the German forum.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Hello Frider, it's getting too complicated and very interesting now. I have really thought nee and ne is the same.
    So Duden says:
    1. ne, nee (umgangssprachlich): nein
    2. ne [nə] Fragepartikel, ugs.: nicht (wahr)
    The funny thing seems to be you can pronounce ne in two dfferent ways.
    Do you agree?
    I think am going to open a thread in the German forum.
    Viel Glück!
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top