Yes/No questions (YNQs) are questions to which the expected answer is either yes or no. In Medumba, YNQs are formed by adding an interrogative particle "gi" to the end of a declarative sentence. For a list of all sentences in ELDER using the "gi" particle, please go here. To read about wh-questions please visit that page.

Relevant Medumba Vocabulary


Question Particle


Negation Particle





Positive YNQsEdit

Any declarative sentence can be formed into a YNQ by usage of the question particle. Consider the pair of sentences below. They form a declarative/interrogative minimal pair, the only difference being the question particle "gi".

jən busi
I see cat
  • 'I saw the cat'
jən busi gi
I see cat Q
  • 'Did I see the cat'

ELDER link to this sentence

Negative YNQsEdit

A second structure of a YNQ involves negation. These YNQs might be called "negative" YNQs; they imply that the speaker expects a positive answer. Consider the examples of a negative YNQ in English.

  • Didn't you see the dog?

Compare this with the positive YNQ in English.

  • Did you see the dog?

The question content seems to be more or less comparable; however, there is a distinction between the speakers expectations.

Negative YNQs in Medumba are formed from negated sentences. Below is a negated form of the example given above.

kəʔ jən busi
I NEG see cat
  • 'I didn't see the cat'
kəʔ jən busi gi
I NEG see cat Q
  • 'Didn't I see the cat?'

For a similar sentence in ELDER please see "I did not see the mango" and "Didn't I see the mango?".


YNQs in Medumba are answered by either yes 'a' or no 'ŋga'. The polarity (positive/negative) of a question does not effect the answer. Below is an example of a negative polarity question along with the possible answers and a paraphrase of what they imply.

kəʔ jən busi gi
I NEG see cat Q
  • 'Didn't I see the cat?'

Possible Answers

  • a - Yes, I did see the cat.
  • ŋga - No, I didn't see the cat.