Asking Questions in a Foreign Language

We all need to ask questions. I am currently learning to ask questions in Mandarin. Regardless of what language you are learning, you will need to ask questions in your target language. Asking questions in a foreign language are a great thing to start with when you’re building simple sentences. After all, you can use those questions to learn new things about your language. This could be new vocabulary, “What is this?” Or Grammar, “How do you say?”

Asking Questions in a Foreign Language? A How To.

There are numerous ways to go about asking questions in a foreign language. Each language will probably have unique ways of asking. Luckily, if you’re a native English speaker, you’re used to an incredibly convoluted way of asking questions – one which involves changing the sentence structure entirely. A lot of languages don’t have that, which is a blessing. In any language learning, you must think about the things that you’re likely to want to say. There are a limited amount of questions which it’ll be pressing for you to know. I divide them into three types:

First type of question you need to ask: Yes/No Question

Yes/No questions are straightforward. They’re the easiest to learn most of the time. They’re also the easiest to answer. When you think of native language development, some of the first ways children learn to answer their parents are by simple “yes” and “no.” Small children will even extend this to “non yes/no” questions, which is ill-advised.

Second Type of Question you need to ask: Either/Or

This is an extension of the first. You might need to ask of your target language, “Is this bread or this bread better?” If you’re shopping a foreign store, this might be pressing. Typically, this is also relatively simple. Learn the word, “or” and you’ll probably be ok, if incorrect grammatically.

Third Type of Question you need to ask: The WH Questions

These are the most difficult type of question out of the three. Still, they are not insurmountable. Most languages will have variants of the “wh” questions.

  • Who
  • What
  • Where
  • When
  • Why
  • How

If you learn these question words, then asking questions in a foreign language becomes a lot easier. You simply need to know the above words, and the way a question alters the sentence structure.

Ask Questions in a Foreign Language: Conclusion

The above three rules are an easy way to how to ask questions in a foreign language. They don’t rely on language hacking, and they can be learned within a day. They’ll help you get a better grasp of vocabulary and grammar intuitively. As such, they’re what you should aim for once you’ve learned basic sentence structure.

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