yes (in response to a negative question)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by linguist786, Jul 4, 2006.

  1. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    In your language, do you have a word which means "Yes", but to a negative question? For example:

    "Do you not have a computer?"
    "I do!"
    (That's the nearest we can get to it in English!)

    In French, they would say "si", in German "doch", in Arabic "بلى" (balaa)

    I don't think there is one in Hindi/Urdu/Gujarati. (correct me if there is!)
  2. Miguelillo 87

    Miguelillo 87 Senior Member

    Mexico City
    México español
    In Spanish you cannot say yes to a negative question
    ¿No tienes computadora verdad?
    No ,no tengo
    It's the translation of your pharase.
  3. MingRaymond Senior Member

    HK Cantonese
    In Mandarin and Cantonese,
    we will say
    你不想去?/你唔想去? (Don't you want to go?)
    是的,我不想去。/係,我唔想去。(Yes, I don't want to go)

    We will first answer the question. In this example, because I don't want to go. I will say 'Yes' first and then add 'I don't want to go'. If I want to go, I will say 不是/唔係 (No), 我想去(I want to go).

  4. Zanos Senior Member

    And what do you say if you DO have a "computadora"?:confused:
  5. ukuca

    ukuca Senior Member

    Istanbul - Turkey
    Turkish - Turkey
    In Turkish it's possible to answer "yes" to a negative question, for example:
    - Zili sen çalmadın mı? (Didn't you ring the bell?)
    > Evet, ben çaldım (=Yes, I did.)
    > Hayır, ben çalmadım. (=No, I didn't)
    - Evde değil misin? (=Aren't you at home?)
    > Evet, evdeyim. (=Yes, I'm home.)
    > Hayır, evde değilim. (=No, I'm not at home)
    It's a little bit confusing at the beginning but later you get used to it :)
  6. jealindgar

    jealindgar Member

    Islas Canarias
    pues siguiendo el hilo de mi compañero, si la pregunta es la misma...
    ¿No tienes computadora verdad?
    y la respuesta es que sí la tengo, sería
    Sí, sí tengo (bueno, o simplemente sí)
  7. Honour Senior Member

    Türkçe, Türkiye
    afaik in french they use si to reply a negative question with an affirmative answer. Otherwise they use non or oui

    tu n'as pas un ordinateur ?
    si, j'en ai un.
    non, je n'en ai pas un.

    as tu un ordinateur?
    oui, j'en ai un.
    non, je n'en ai pas un.

    NB: corrigez mes fautes svp

    Edit: i haven't seen the bottom lines of the first post, anyway, the examples may be helpful.
  8. Tisia Senior Member

    Iran, Persian, Kurdish, English, Finnish
    The Persian case:

    (To) ba ma nami'ai? -you don't come with us?
    Chera, miam. - yes I come.
    though 'Chera' means 'why', but for giving a positive answer to a negative question, we mostly use 'chera' for 'yes'.

    (To) ba ma mi'ai? - do you come with us?
    Aré, (miam). - yes (I come)

  9. gorilla Member

    Hungarian - Hungary
    In Hungarian it is "de" or "de igen":

    Becsuktad az ajtót? -- Be. OR Igen. = Lit: In-closed-you the door? -- In. OR Yes.
    Nem csuktad be az ajtót? -- De. OR De igen. =Lit. Not closed-you in the door? -- ~I did.
  10. dahut Senior Member

    Europe - Spanish
    In Norwegian "jo".

    Har du ikke datamaskin? Don't you have a computer?
    Jo, det har jeg. Yes, I do.
  11. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    San Francisco
    Am. English
    tere paas computer nahii hai?
    haaN, hai!

    is that what you mean?
  12. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Well ye lol, kind of. That just shows there's no "special" word for it. "haan" means yes anyway. (Even in a positive question)
  13. panjabigator

    panjabigator Senior Member

    San Francisco
    Am. English
    Telugu has two different words for no (I think)...maybe Shaloo can explain!
  14. karuna

    karuna Senior Member

    The planet Earth
    Latvian, Latvia
    In Latvian you cannot give a yes or no answer to such questions as "You do not have a computer?". Instead you can give a short answer with a verb nav (do not have) or ir (I have). You can

    – Vai tev nav datora?
    (You do not have a computer?).
    – Jā, man nav (Yes, I don't have) is the same as Nē, man nav (No, I don't have) therefore or is omited in most cases, despite what they teach in school about polite speach in full sentences.
  15. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    I don't think that there's such a special word for "doch"/"si" in Czech. They use "ano" (= and), too. However, there's a German word (allerdings!) that can express the same, but with more emphasis. This would be "ovšem" in Czech. :)
  16. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Really? (Allerdings?) Can you give an example?:)
  17. Whodunit

    Whodunit Senior Member

    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    It's mostly used after the affirmative "doch":

    A: Wo ist meine Federmappe? Hast du sie mir noch nicht wiedergegeben?
    B: Doch, allerdings, das habe ich. Du musst sie verschlampert haben.

    A: Where's my pencil case? Haven't you given it back to me yet?
    B: Yes, I do have. You must have lost it.
  18. linguist786 Senior Member

    Blackburn, England
    English, Gujarati & Urdu
    Very good! Thanks for the example.:) Makes things clearer ;)
    I didn't know it could be used like that.
  19. kvajak Member

    Göttingen, Deutschland
    Dialekt von Chaozhou, Chaozhou, Kanton, China
    Deutsch: doch
    Norsk: jo
    Chinese: mostly no adverb like "yes" and "no" for the answer. Often people asks negative question with a sentence. i.e. “你不去吗?”--“去啊,怎么不去?”(literal English translation:"won't u go?" "go, why not?")
  20. Flaminius

    Flaminius coclea mod

    capita Iaponiae
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית

    Q; Kompuutaa, motte masen yone?
    "(I expect) you don't have a computer?"

    A1; Iie, motte masu-yo. In case the speaker is in possession of one.
    A2; Hai, motte imasen. In case he does not have one.

    Iie is, "No" and Hai is, "Yes." The Yes/No answer is given to the verasity of the expectation of the interlocuter.
  21. Maja

    Maja Senior Member

    Binghamton, NY
    Serbian, Serbia
    Same in Serbian. Double, or sometimes even triple negation is allowed.
    So if smo says :
    "Zar nemaš kompjuter?"(Don't you have a computer?)
    The answer would be:
    "Ne, nemam" (No I don't), or just "Ne" (No).
  22. optimistique Senior Member

    In Dutch you would say 'jawel', which is a composition of the words 'ja' (yes), and the adverb 'wel', about which I had started a thread some time ago
    . You could also just say 'wel'.

    If you say 'ja' to a negative question, then there's only confusion, because people still don't know what you mean ('yes, I don't have one' or 'yes, I do have one'???). It's usual to say 'Nee' (No), in the first case (No, I don't have one - Nee, ik heb er geen) or 'Jawel' in the second (Jawel, ik heb er wel een).

    'Ja' is always a wrong answer (but as you can tell from my comment, it still appears sometimes, by native speakers!). Although personnally I'm of the opinion that people shouldn't ask unnecessary negative questions ;) (at least not in Dutch).
  23. aurette

    aurette Senior Member

    Romanian Romania - Transylvania
    We have that in Romanian too:

    Nu ai calculator? Don't you have a computer?
    Ba da! Yes, i do/ Si que j'en ai un.

    ba is a used in some parts of the country to say no.
    example: -L-ai vazut? Have you seen him? -Ba! No!
    (this is rather used in the villages, not in standard Romanian)

  24. ceann-feachd Member

    USA. English
    It's so much simpler in Gaelic. Where there are no direct words for yes or no.

    Nach eil thu a' dol a dh'Alba?
    Are you not going to Scotland?

    To which, the possible answers would be.
    Tha. (Positive form of verb)
    Yes, I am.

    or Chan eil (Negative form of verb)
    No, I'm not.

    Something like...

    Nach faod mi dol?
    May I not go?

    Nach faod was the verb used to ask the question, negative interrogative form.
    You can answer with

    Faodaidh (positive form)
    Yes, you may.

    Or Chan fhaod (negative form)
    No, you may not.

    A lot fewer opportunities for confusion when it all boils down.
  25. mytwolangs Senior Member

    English United States
    WOW flood of different langs!

    In English, the "si" has no real translation the way it does in french (to contradict a negative question)

    In English, we tend to change tone instead of use a differnt word -

    "You don't have a computer"
    "Yes I DO" (politely though and emphasizing the cotradicting word like "do")

    "Do you have a computer?"
    "Yes I do" All words with equal emphasis.

    Because English sometimes lacks words that say French may have, our language tends to convey by emphasizing certain words to change context.

    Another example - When someone tells you good news -
    "That is GREAT"
    When someone tells bad news -
    "THAT is great" (meaning it actually sucks.)

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