There are two sets of interrogative pronouns, one based on ᐊᐧᐋᓐ awaan and ᒑᐧᑳᓐ chaakwaan which refer to people or things, and another one based on ᑖᓐ taan which refers to places. They can also take inflection to create dubitative pronouns.
Use an Interrogative pronoun to ask a question about:
- People or things
- Places or selections
|ᑖᓐ ᒋᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐ.||taan chimischisin.||Where is your shoe?|
|ᑖᓐ ᒌᔨ ᒋᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐ᙮||taan chiiyi chimischisin.||Which one is your shoe?|
The interrogative pronoun ᑖᓐ taan has two meanings: ‘where?’ or ‘which one?’. One use is for asking where something or someone is. Another use is with the emphatic pronoun, to express a selective interrogation. Like other pronouns, ᑖᓐ taan takes inflection.
Interrogative pronoun ᑖᓐ taan:
To question about the location of a person or a thing, i.e. to ask the question ‘where is…?’ one uses the pronoun ᑖᓐ taan followed by a noun. The pronoun agrees in gender and number with this noun. Here are some examples:
|ᑖᓐ ᑰᑖᐹᓈᔅᒄ᙮||taan kuutaapaanaaskw.||Where is your toboggan?|
|ᑖᓂᒌ ᑰᑖᐹᓈᔅᑯᒡ᙮||taanichii kuutaapaanaaskuch.||Where are your toboggans?|
|ᑖᓂᔮᐦ ᐅᑖᐹᓇᔅᒄᐦ᙮||taaniyaah utaapaanaskwh.||Where is/are her toboggan(s)?|
|ᑖᓂᐦᐄᐦ ᒋᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐᐦ᙮||taanihiih chimischisinh.||Where are your shoes?|
|ᑖᓂᔮ ᐅᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐ᙮||taaniyaa umischisin.||Where is her/his shoe?|
|ᑖᓂᔮᐦ ᐅᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐᐦ᙮||taaniyaah umischisinh.||Where are her/his shoes?|
For emphasis on the location, or for embedding the question, the adverbial form ᑖᓂᑖᐦ taanitaah is used. It does not take inflection and is always used with a verb. [See demonstrative adverbials]
|ᑖᓂᑖᐦ ᐋ ᐃᐦᑎᑯᐦᒡᐦ ᒋᒥ.ᔅᒋᓯᓐᐦ᙮||taanitaah aa ihtikuhch-h chimischisinh.||Where are they, your shoes?|
|ᐃᔑ ᑖᓂᑖᐦ ᐃᐦᑎᑯᓐᐦ ᓂᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐᐦ᙮||ishi taanitaah ihtikunh nimischisinh.||I wonder where my shoes are?|
|ᓂᒋᔅᒑᔨᐦᑖᓐ ᑖᓂᑖᐦ ᐋ ᐃᐦᑎᑯᐦᒡᐦ ᒋᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐᐦ᙮||nichischaayihtaan taanitaah aa ihtikuhchh chimischisinh.||I know where your shoes are.|
To ask about the selection of a person or a thing, i.e to ask the question ‘which one is…’, one uses the pronoun ᑖᓐ taan together with an emphatic personal pronoun.
|ᑖᓂᐦᐄᐦ ᒌᔨ ᒋᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐᐦ᙮||taanihiih chiiyi chimischisinh.||Which ones are your shoes?|
|ᑖᓂᔮᐦ ᐧᐄᔨ ᐅᒥᔅᒋᓯᓐᐦ᙮||taaniyaah wiiyi umischisinh.||Which ones are her/his shoes?|
|ᑖᓂᔮᐦ ᐧᐄᔨ᙮||taaniyaah wiiyi.||Which ones are her/his?|
For emphasis on the selection, the particle ᐧᐋᒋᐦᒡ waachihch is used in combination with ᑖᓐ taan.
|ᑖᓐ ᐧᐋᒋᐦᒡ᙮||taan waachihch.||Which one exactly?|
There are other ways to express selective interrogations, for example with the particle ᒑᒄ chaakw followed by an animate noun. [see particles].
|ᒑᒄ ᐃᔅᐧᑳᐅᒡ ᑳ ᑎᑯᔑᐦᒡ᙮||chaakw iskwaauch kaa tikushihch.||Who are the women who came?|
|ᒑᒄ ᐋᒥᐦᐧᑳᓂᒡ ᒑ ᐋᐱᒋᐦᐄᐧᑖᐤ᙮||chaakw aamihkwaanich chaa aapichihiitwaau.||Which spoons are you going to use?|
|Which kind of spoons are you going to use?|
Often, the ‘where’ or ‘which’ interpretation will depend on the context.
|ᑖᓂᒌ (ᐊᓂᒌ) ᐃᔅᐧᑳᐅᒡ ᑳ ᑎᑯᔑᐦᒡ᙮||taanichii (anichii) iskwaauch kaa tikushihch.||Which women came? / Where are the women who came?|
|ᑖᓂᒌ (ᐊᓂᒌ) ᐋᒥᐦᐧᑳᓂᒡ ᒑ ᐋᐱᒋᐦᐄᐧᑖᐤ᙮||taanichii (anichii) aamihkwaanich chaa aapichihiitwaau.||Which spoons are you going to use?|
|Where are the spoons that you are going to use?|
|ᑖᓐ ᐊᓐ?||taan an?||Which one? / Where is it?|
[See also the interrogative particle taan and the quantifier taan tahtw]