Paj-Puj: The Particle <span style="font-family:sans-serif;" >لا</span> in the Role of "Precisely"/"Only"

The Particle لا in the Role of "Precisely"/"Only"

دەل شۇ» يا «پەقەت» رولىدىكى «لا» يۈكلىمىسى»

Probably the most common use of the particle لا is in a manner that is almost identical to the English adverb "just", as both can indicate both precision (e.g., "just now") or a lack/shortage (e.g., "there's just two of us"), depending on the context. In Uyghur, this particle is usually attached to the very end of the word that this meaning is applied to.

The following are examples of when لا carries the meaning of "only". To add additional emphasis, one may also couple it with the adverb پەقەت, the latter coming before in the sentence. The two can also be combined into پەقەتلا, as a sort of emphatic "only".

She just returned home today.
.ئۇ بۈگۈنلا ئۆيگە قايتتى

There are just three people in my family.
.ئائىلەمدە ئۈچلا ئادەم بار
.ئائىلەمدە پەقەت ئۈچلا ئادەم بار

His sole job at the restaurant is making the food.
.ئۇ ئاشخانىدا تاماقلا ئېتىدۇ
.ئۇ ئاشخانىدا پەقەت تاماقلا ئېتىدۇ

I bought only one sheep at the market.
.بازاردىن بىرلا قوي ئالدىم

The car broke after just a year's time.
.پىكاپ بىر يىلدىلا كاردىن چىقتى
.پىكاپ پەقەت بىر يىلدىلا كاردىن چىقتى

It's just me who lives with my kids in Urumqi.
.پەقەت مەنلا بالا ـ چاقىلىرىم بىلەن ئۈرۈمچىدە تۇرىمەن

I can only speak English.
.مەن پەقەتلا ئىنگلىزچە سۆزلىيەلەيمەن

Having eaten this one thing, he didn't eat any of the others.
.ئۇ بۇ نەرسىنىلا يەپ بولۇپ، باشقا نەرسىلەرنى يېمىدى

I only have one daughter.
.مېنىڭ ناھايىتى بىرلا قىزىم بار
.مېنىڭ پەقەت بىرلا قىزىم بار

This is the only thing he can do. He can't do anything else.
.ئۇ ناھايىتى بۇ ئىشنىلا قىلالايدۇ، باشقا ئىشلارنى قىلالمايدۇ
.ئۇ پەقەت بۇ ئىشنىلا قىلالايدۇ، باشقا ئىشلارنى قىلالمايدۇ

Although he only has one arm, his swordsmanship is inferior to no one's.
.گەرچە ئۇنىڭ بىلىكى بىرلا بولسىمۇ، لېكىن قىلىچۋازلىق ماھارىتى ھېچكىمنىڭكىگە يول قويمايدۇ

The following are examples of when لا carries the meaning of "precisely".

The post office is just next to the bank.
.پوچتىخانا بانكىنىڭ يېنىدىلا

They set out right at the rooster's call.
.ئۇلار توخۇ چىللىغاندىلا يولغا چىقتى

You can hang your clothes outside. There's a line just next to the door, you know.
.كىيىمىڭىزنى تېشىغا يايسىڭىز بولىدۇ، ئىشىكنىڭ يېنىدىلا بىر سىم بارغۇ

After I retire, I plan to go up to the mountains. There, I'll find a secluded spot and build a house to spend the rest of my days in.
.پەنسىيىگە چىققاندىن كېيىن تاغلارغا چىقماقچىمەن. ئۇ يەردە بىر خالىي جاينى تېپىپ ئۆي سالىمەن، ئۆمرۈمنىڭ ئاخىرىغىچە شۇ يەردىلا كۈن كەچۈرىمەن

It is important to note that while لا has many other uses - the details of which are explained in the following sections - all of these may essentially be seen as particular cases of the two meanings above. As such, it is recommended that the reader keep in mind that this particle is very, very similar to the English adverb "just", even though the different detailed uses as they are reported in many Uyghur language books, and as will be done here, are many.


  1. Personal research/experience
  2. Hamit A. Zakir, "Introduction to Modern Uighur". Xinjiang University Press: Urumqi, 2007. (p. 41)
  3. Frederick De Jong, "A Grammar of Modern Uyghur". Houtsma Stichting: Utrecht, 2007. (p. 212)
  4. Hämit Tömür, "Modern Uyghur Grammar" (translation by Anne Lee). Yıldız: Istanbul, 2003. (p. 498, 501)
  5. Reinhard F. Hahn, Ablahat Ibrahim, "Spoken Uyghur". University of Washington Press: Seattle, 1991. (p. 145)
  6. E. N. Nadzhip, "Modern Uigur". Nauka Publishing House: Moscow, 1971. (p. 79, 98, 126)
  7. 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. 337)
  8. 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)
  9. Gulnisa Nazarova, Kurban Niyaz, "Uyghur: An Intermediate Textbook". Georgetown University Press: 2016. (p. 129)