Paj-Puj: Particles in Uyghur

Particles in Uyghur

ئۇيغۇر تىلىدىكى يۈكلىمىلەر

Particles play a crucial role in the Uyghur language, as they are able to enrich a sentence with a variety of nuances that one could not express otherwise. Particles are usually short, often come at the end of a word/sentence, and rarely carry any meaning by themselves. No real good general analogue for Uyghur particles exists in English, although one could propose a few for specific cases. Consider the following three examples:

True, he was a very good teacher.
.دەرۋەقە، ئۇ ناھايىتى ياخشى ئوقۇتقۇچى ئىدى

So you were never in love with me.
.سەن مېنى ياخشى كۆرۈپ باقماپسەن ـ دە

Are you a student?
سىز ئوقۇغۇچىمۇ؟

In the first two examples, we can think of the particle دەرۋەقە as being analogous to the English "true", and of the particle دە as being analogous to the English "so" when used in these specific contexts. However, in the third example, the particle مۇ has no real English equivalent, as its role is to indicate a question (in English, this is done with inversion by going from "you are" to "are you").

Additionally, a single Uyghur particle can carry multiple meanings. Consider the following alternate usages of مۇ and دە:

Yes, that's right. I'm a student too.
.ھەئە شۇنداق، مەنمۇ ئوقۇغۇچى

I went off into my room as soon as I entered the house.
.مەن ئۆيگە كىردىم ـ دە، ئۆزۈمنىڭ ياتاق ئۆيۈمگە كىرىپ كەتتىم

Here, مۇ is used analogously to the English "too", while دە indicates that the second action in the sentence (going off into the room) was carried out almost immediately after the first (coming into the house). In short, Uyghur particles are not always easy to grasp or to translate - in many cases, one must simply get used to them and their various uses by observing a number of examples.


  1. Personal research/experience
  2. Hämit Tömür, "Modern Uyghur Grammar" (translation by Anne Lee). Yıldız: Istanbul, 2003. (p. 478-479)
  3. 米海力, "维吾尔语喀什话研究"。中央民族大学出版社: 北京, 1997。 (p. 121)
  4. Gulnisa Nazarova, Kurban Niyaz, "Uyghur: An Intermediate Textbook". Georgetown University Press: 2016. (p. 129)