Paj-Puj: The Particle مۇ in Yes/No Questions

The Particle مۇ in Yes/No Questions

بولۇشلۇق-بولۇشسىز سوئالدىكى «مۇ» يۈكلىمىسى

Perhaps the most common role of مۇ is in forming "yes/no" questions, as demonstrated in the following examples:

Are you a student?
سىز ئوقۇغۇچىمۇ؟

Have you been well?
ياخشى تۇردىڭىزمۇ؟

Are the train tickets expensive?
پويىز بېلىتى قىممەتمۇ؟

Is there proof of this?
بۇنىڭ دەلىلى بارمۇ؟

Are there many women in your work unit?
ئىدارەڭلاردا ئاياللار كۆپمۇ؟

Are you a teacher?
ئۆزىڭىز ئوقۇتقۇچىمۇ؟

Are you also from Kashgar?
سىزمۇ قەسقەرلىكمۇ؟

Does there also exist a time when the public buses are not full of people?
ئاممىۋى ئاپتوبۇستا ئادەم ئاز ۋاقىتمۇ بارمۇ؟

Is there anything else worth mentioning?
يەنە تىلغا ئالغۇدەك ئىش بارمۇ؟

The doctor hit my knee and asked if I felt anything.
.دوختۇر تىزىمنى بىر ئۇرۇپ سېزىمىڭىز بارمۇ دەپ سورىدى

The nurse asked me if I had health insurance.
.سېسترا مېنىڭدىن داۋالىنىش سۇغۇرتىڭىز بارمۇ، دەپ سورىدى

Those familiar with Mandarin should quickly recognize that this usage appears identical to the question particle 吗, and indeed it essentially is (it is even similar in sound).

While this usage is the standard, it is acceptable, in spoken Uyghur, to drop the مۇ, with intonation at the end of the phrase used to convey the question [1,6]. The following are all examples of sentences where the مۇ is implicit and dropped. In English, an analogous concept is to drop the inversion and, like in Uyghur, to use intonation.

You're a student?
سىز ئوقۇغۇچى؟

You've been well?
ياخشى تۇردىڭىز؟

The train tickets are expensive?
پويىز بېلىتى قىممەت؟


  1. Personal research/experience
  2. Gulnisa Nazarova, Kurban Niyaz, "Uyghur: An Elementary Textbook". Georgetown University Press: 2013. (p. 46)
  3. Tarjei Engesæth, Mahire Yakup, Arienne M. Dwyer, "Greetings from the Teklimakan: a handbook of Modern Uyghur". University of Kansas: Kansas, 2009. (p. 13, 17)
  4. Hamit A. Zakir, "Introduction to Modern Uighur". Xinjiang University Press: Urumqi, 2007. (p. 14)
  5. Frederick De Jong, "A Grammar of Modern Uyghur". Houtsma Stichting: Utrecht, 2007. (p. 107, 213)
  6. Hämit Tömür, "Modern Uyghur Grammar" (translation by Anne Lee). Yıldız: Istanbul, 2003. (p. 16, 482-483)
  7. David K. Parshall, "The First Step in Uygur". In Step Books Publishing: Hong Kong, 1993. (p. 11, 28, 30)
  8. Reinhard F. Hahn, Ablahat Ibrahim, "Spoken Uyghur". University of Washington Press: Seattle, 1991. (p. 119)
  9. E. N. Nadzhip, "Modern Uigur". Nauka Publishing House: Moscow, 1971. (p. 102, 126, 149)
  10. 亚力坤·阿不都萨拉木, 阿不都热衣木·哈德尔, "维语会话教程"。新疆人民卫生出版社: 乌鲁木齐, 2009。 (p. 51-52)
  11. 吾买尔·阿皮孜, "基础维吾尔语"。新疆教育出版社: 乌鲁木齐, 2008。 (p. 41)
  12. خالىق نىياز, "基础维吾尔语"。新疆大学出版社: 乌鲁木齐, 2006。 (p. 74)
  13. 阿孜古丽·阿布力米提, "维吾尔语基础教程"。中央民族大学出版社: 北京, 2006。 (p. 115)
  14. 易坤琇, "维吾尔语语法"。中央民族大学出版社: 北京, 1998。 (p. 144-145)
  15. Д. Ж. Касымова, "Уйгурский язык: Самоучитель". Ғылым: Алматы, 2005. (p. 14)
  16. А. К. Боровков, "Учебник Уйгурского Языка". Ленинградский Восточный Институт: Ленинград, 1935. (p. 23, 106)
  17. G. Raquette, "Eastern Turki Grammar: Practical and Theoretical with Vocabulary". Reichsdruckerei: Berlin, 1912. (p. 120, 134)