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Tïjonïk 8 La k’o le anan? (Is your mom home?)
How to ask yes/no questions


In this unit you will learn how to ask questions. Next we will start looking at negative sentences, which are a bit complex in K’iche’.


Le al We’l kusolij le a Xwan pa le ro’ch  jela’ Nawalja’.
Manuela visits Juan at his house in Nahualá.

We’l:               Saqarik a Xwan!
Xwan:             Saqarik al We’l!
We’l:               La k’o le anan?
Xwan:             K’olik.
We’l:               Maltyox!
Xwan:             La k’o k’u le axb’al ?
We’l:               Maj.

Show/Hide English translation

We’l:               Good morning, Juan!
Xwan:             Good morning, Manuela!
We’l:              Is your mom home?
Xwan:             She is.
We’l:               Thanks!
Xwan:             And your brother, is he home ?
We’l:               He’s not.


Yes/no questions in K’iche’
In K’iche’ yes/no questions simply require placing the particle La at the beginning as well as adding a raising intonation at the end. Listen carefully to the examples below.

-La k’o le atat?
-Je’, k’olik.
-Is your dad (home)?
-Yes, he is.

The particle je’ is utilized as yes. As we have seen, the particle k’o becomes k’olik when it is in the phrase final position.

-La k’o le a Xwan?
– Je’, k’olik.
-Is Xwan here/home?
-Yes, he is.


– La oj nab’e?
– Je’, oj nab’e.
-Are we first?
-Yes, we are first

Please listen to the following examples. Practice answering the questions.

– La k’o awe?
– K’olik.
– Je’, k’o we.
-Do you have a girlfriend/boyfriend?
-I do.-Yes, I have a girlfriend/boyfriend.


– La nim le atinamit?
– Je’ nim.
– Je’, nim le nutinamit.
 -Is your town big?
-Yes, (it) is.-Yes, my town is big.
– La at k’o ruk’ le atz’i’?
– In k’olik.
– Je’, in k’o ruk’ le nutz’i’.
-Are you with your dog?
-I am.-Yes, I am with my dog.
– La rax le juyub’?
– Je’, rax.
– Je’, rax le juyub’.
 -Is the mountain green?
-Yes, green.-Yes, the mountain is green.
– La k’o le ajastaq?
– Je’, k’olik.
– Je’, k’o le nujastaq.
-Do you have your things?
-Yes, I do.-Yes, I have my things.


– La awachalal le al We’l?
– Je, wachalal.
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– Je’, wachalal le al We’l.
-Is Manuela your relative?
-Yes, (she is)my relative.-Yes, Manuela is my relative.


– La ix k’o pa le tijob’al?
– Je’ oj k’olik.
– Je’, oj k’o pa le tijob’al.
 -Are y’all at the school?
-Yes, we are.-Yes, we are at the school.

Negation in non-verbal sentences
In Nahuala K’iche’, the negative answer to yes/no questions is maj. The Spanish loanword no’ with a glottal stop is often heard as well. An answer with maj alone may be interpreted as somewhat curt but sometimes it is enough. Negation in K’iche’ is periphrastic: It requires two negation markers as French, for example. The first is the optional particle na preceding the predicate; the second is obligatory ta or taj in sentence final position. Negative existential sentences in Nahuala start with maj and do not carry the existential k’o/k’olik. Let’s look at some examples:

Na nim ta raqan wa’ we che’.
Negation big Negation its-leg this tree
This tree is not tall.
(Remember the construction nim raqan means tall)

Na rax ta uwach le juyub’.
NEG green NEG its-face the mountain
The mountain is not green.

Maj urajil le q’abarel.
NEG his/her-money art. drunk (person)
The drunk (person) has no money. 

Na utz ta le ut’isom le al Mariy.
NEG good NEG art. her-sewing art. marker Mariy
Mariy’s sewing is not good.

Na q’an ta uwach le qaprut.
NEG yellow NEG its-face art. our-banana
Our banana is not yellow. 

Maj jab’ wakamik.
NEG rain right now
There is no rain right now.

Maj sutz iwir.
NEG sun rays yesterday
There were no clouds yesterday. 

K’AK’A TAQ TZIJVocabulary
sak’aj  smart, bright
kax difficult
chaq’ younger sibling of the same sex
chwe’q  tomorrow
iwir yesterday
kamik today
chanim right now
jab’ rain
uwaq’ij sun rays
prut banana
q’abarel drunk
t’isom sewing
jas taq things
-achalal relative

From the following word pairs, form questions indicating possession and answer them in the affirmative and as in the negative.
Example : at/ixoqil : La k’o awixoqil ? –Je’, k’olik. /Maj.

  1.   At/wuj
  2.  Al Nela/chak/pa tijob’al
  3.   At/ xajab’
  4. Nan Xe’p/po’t
  5.  A Si’s, al Xe’p/xajab’
  6.  At/chak
  7. Ajtij/ Chakub’al/
  8. Ix/pwaq
  9. Tz’i’/Wa
  10. B’i/tz’i’
  11. At/chaq’

Now, practice asking and answering the following questions in k’iche:

  1. Are you in the United States?
  2. Do you (ya’ll) have a dog?
  3. Xwan, is your younger brother home?
  4. Is your dad a lumberjack?
  5. Are you drunk?
  6. Is the mayor in his office?
  7. Are we smart in class?
  8. Is the k’iche’ class difficult?
  9. What’s your name (addressing an elder)?
  10. Is Mariy’s huipil green?