Paj-Puj: The Particle <span style="font-family:sans-serif;" >زە</span> to Highlight a Contrast

The Particle زە to Highlight a Contrast

قارىمۇقارشى تۇرۇشنى تەكىتلەيدىغان «زە» يۈكلىمىسى

When attached to the focal element of the second phrase in a two-phrase sentence, the particle زە emphasizes a contrast between the two phrases. This may be seen as being analogous to the English "but when it comes to..." or "but as for...". The first phrase may also be dropped if it is clear from the context. Although not always the case, this usage of زە often expresses the speaker's unhappiness, bitterness, or frustration with the situation.

He doesn't read books, but when it comes to the TV, he watches it night and day.
.ئۇ كىتاب ئوقۇمايدۇ، تېلېۋىزورنىزە كېچە ـ كۈندۈز كۆرىدۇ

When I ask you, you tell me that you're busy, but when it's your girlfriend who asks, you're suddenly up for anything.
.مەن سىزدىن سورىسام مەن ئالدىراش دەيسىز، قىز دوستىڭىززە سورىسا سىز ھەممىگە تەييار

Adil is very good at studying, but when it comes to athletics, he's a bit lousy.
.ئادىل ئوقۇشتا بەك ياخشى، تەنتەربىيەدىزە ناچارراق

You say that you want to study well, but don't actually work when it comes to doing the homework.
.سىز ياخشى ئۆگىنەي دەيسىز، تاپشۇرۇقنىزە ئىشلىمەيسىز

When attached to the final phrase in interrogative sentences, this usage of زە creates a contrast analogous to the English "so what makes you think that...?". When attached to the leading phrase, it creates a contrast analogous to the English "given that / seeing as..." and expresses the speaker's dissatisfaction due to his/her opinion that the action in the final phrase should naturally take place given the action in the first [1,3,6].

If even I can't do this, then what makes you think that you can?
بۇ ئىشنى مەن قىلالمايمەنيۇ، سىززە قانداق قىلالايسىز؟

Given all the different books you've written, would it really be so hard to write a small article?
نۇرغۇن كىتابلار يېزىپزە، بىر كىچىك ماقالىنى يازمايسىز؟


  1. Personal research/experience
  2. Frederick De Jong, "A Grammar of Modern Uyghur". Houtsma Stichting: Utrecht, 2007. (p. 211)
  3. Hämit Tömür, "Modern Uyghur Grammar" (translation by Anne Lee). Yıldız: Istanbul, 2003. (p. 504)
  4. E. N. Nadzhip, "Modern Uigur". Nauka Publishing House: Moscow, 1971. (p. 126)
  5. 易坤琇, "维吾尔语语法"。中央民族大学出版社: 北京, 1998。 (p. 151)
  6. خامىت تۆمۈر، "ھازىرقى زامان ئۇيغۇر تىلى گرامماتىكىسى"، مىللەتلەر نەشرىياتى: بېيجىڭ، 2011 (p. 436)