nu-i asa?

A correspondent would like to know the Romanian equivalent of the tag questions like n’est-ce pas? (French), non e vero? (Italian), ¿verdad? (Spanish), ne pravda? (Czech).

I found nu-i asa? via Google translate, and this brings up over 3 million results in Google, so might just be correct.

Do other languages use similar tags?

This entry was posted in French, Italian, Language, Romanian, Spanish, Words and phrases.

39 Responses to nu-i asa?

  1. Alex Shams says:

    Egyptian Arabic uses مش كدا (mish kida) meaning “is it not like that” or “is it not so”. كدا can also be spelled كده.

  2. MäcØSŸ says:

    It’s actually “Nu-i așa” with “Ș” (representing /ʃ/, while “S” represents /s/).

  3. prase says:

    I can’t imagine a context in which a native Czech speaker would say “ne pravda?” (possibly it can be heard in some dialect which I haven’t been in contact with, although I doubt it). Standard tag question is simply “ne?”, or “že?”, or more elaborate “že ano?” or colloquial “že jo?” One can say “není-liž pravda?”, it sounds archaically bookish, but is OK when not used too often.

  4. Bia Medeiros says:

    Portuguese: “né?” or more elaborate “Não é?”

  5. lukas says:

    In German, that would be “…, oder?”

  6. At least in Brazilian Portuguese we use “…, né?”, which I believe we got from the Japanese. It’s also the same use, when you expect a positive answer.

  7. joe mock says:

    Tagalog would be ‘di ba? Urdu, ‘hay na?

  8. Roy says:

    In Hebrew it can be לא ‘lo?’ (no?), נכון ‘nakhon?’ (right?), colloquial: מה לא ‘ma lo?’ (what no?), לא ככה lo kakha? (not so?), מה לא ככה ‘ma lo kakha?’ (what? isn’t it so?), or the literary הלא כן ‘halo khen?’ (is it not so?)

  9. Yenlit says:

    Closest Welsh has to ‘n’est-ce pas?’ anticipating an affirmative response is “yntefê” or “yndefê” but there’s also the tag to form a negative interrogative anticipating an affirmative answer “on’d” (+ form of verb) – on’d ydy? “isn’t it?”; on’d oedd? – “wasn’t it?” etc. It’s all very convoluted!?

  10. michael farris says:

    Theoretically ‘prawda?’ (or it’s bombastic cousin nieprawdaż) are tags in Polish, but in modern spoken Polish the universal tag is ‘nie?’ (no?)

  11. michael farris says:

    Esperanto uses ‘chu ne?’ where chu = whether/question particle and ne = no.

  12. Thomas says:

    Dutch uses “nietwaar?”, literally meaning “not true?”

  13. Phil says:

    Swedish has ‘eller hur?’ The literal translation is “or how?” This is often shortened, I believe due to some German influence, to “eller?”


  14. Zachary says:

    In Canada, we tend to use the tag marker “eh?” quite a bit, to the point where it’s become one of our many stereotypes. “That’s awesome eh?”, “You wouldn’t do that, eh?” – The French Canadian equivalent is the word “hein?” (“n’est-ce pas” is pretty much never used). For example, “C’est beau hein?”, “ça fait du bien, hein?”. Other such words and phrases would be “no?”, “right?”, “isn’t it?” (Fr: ‘non?’, ‘tu trouves pas?’)…

    Japanese has a number of such particles (ne, na, no, ka, wa, etc.) that differ in connotation and vary depending on the context and emphasis. Dialects tend to also have their own unique variations such as ‘ga’, ‘do’, ‘nii’, ‘kai’, etc.

  15. Kellen says:

    吧 in Mandarin does what né is said to do in Brasilian Portuguese above. A stronger version would be 对吧 which is equivalent to “right?”

  16. Kellen says:

    I missed Joe Mock’s comment on `di ba. That’s damn close to 对吧 (dui ba). I can’t help wondering if it’s a loan from Mandarin. Any ideas on this?

  17. BG says:

    German also uses “nicht Wahr?”, though not as commonly as “oder?” as far as I can tell. In southern Germany (not sure how widespread this is), “ge(ll)?” is also used in a similar fashion, although it might differ in connotation

  18. TJ says:

    in Arabic the most standard form would be “… Alaysa Kaðálik?” أليس كذلك؟
    meaning simply “Isn’t it so?”.
    Some letters might be added here or there but this is the main context.

    Of course this is the standard Arabic and not in any other dialects.

  19. Jim Morrison says:

    ‘Nit wohr’ (not true) in Swiss German!

  20. Tommy says:

    I question whether Brasilian Portuguese “ne” comes from Japanese ね. More than likely, you’ll hear “nao e?” at the end of statements in Brasil, for example “Ta otimo, nao e?”, and sometimes its contraction “ne”.

    Another problem with the argument that “ne” came from Japanese to Brasilian Portuguese is that while ね can be used alone at the end of phrase, it is often in combination with other “tags” like だね、 だよね, ですね、ですよね、and even as a stand alone exclamation when you want to agree completely with something someone tells you:

    – 確かに、このごはんがうまい!
    – ね!

    In Brasil, no one uses “ne” like this. Instead someone might say “e verdade” or depending on the statement “isso!”

  21. Duncan says:

    In Syrian Colloquial Arabic it’s ما هيك؟ (maa heek?), which means “isn’t it so?”, just like the Egyptian Arabic and the Modern Standard Arabic versions above.

  22. Maria says:

    In Catalan we add “, oi?” at the end of the question. It can also be added at the beginning of the question, as in “Oi que (+ question)?”.

    -És el teu germà, oi?
    -Oi que és el teu germà?

    ENG: -> He is your brother, isn’t he?

  23. joe mock says:

    re ‘di ba – it’s not a loanword, it’s a contraction of ‘hindi’ (no) plus ‘ba’ interrogative particle.

  24. Petréa Mitchell says:

    I think a closer equivalent in Japanese is kedo “but”, which when used at the end of a sentence is meant to give the listener an opportunity to contradict the previous statement without seeming rude.

  25. joe mock says:

    of course then there’s esperanto chu ne

  26. TJ says:

    @Duncan: to make it complete as well, Ma haik is also used by lebanese. Egyptian version is “Mish kida?” and sometimes made longer with “mish kida walla aeh?” i.e. [isn’t it so or what?].
    I think in some dialects its a combination between the two like “mish haik?”.
    I wonder though what would Algerians and Moroccans would say here?

  27. c. says:

    Actually in Italian it is “non è vero?”. mind the grave accent on the e.

    “e” (without accent) means “and” in Italian.

    cheers 🙂

  28. Yenlit says:

    Of course in British English we have the slang tag question “…innt?”, “…ain’t?” and various regional variations “…h’int?” etc.

  29. Caravilcius says:

    In Hungarian we say “…, ugye?” This is the contraction of “úgy-e”, meaning “is it so?” (“úgy” means “so” and “-e” is a question particle, mainly used in reported speech).

  30. Qcumber says:

    Joe Mock, would Tagalog _dî bá_ still be used as a tag in, for instance, _May kótse siyá, dî bá?_ “He has a car, hasn’t he?”
    _Walá siyáng kótse, dî ba?_ “He has no car, has he?”

  31. Marc says:

    In Norwegian, it’s “ikke sant?” (not true?), which is widely used.

  32. Luke says:

    In Nepali, it’s: hoina?

  33. Arakun says:

    Would the Swedish “eller hur?” (‘or how?’) count as this? There’s also “inte sant?” (‘not true’), like in Norwegian.

  34. joe mock says:

    re Qcumber’s query – I’m not sure it holds for wala … doesn’t sound right, but then I’m not a native speaker.
    To add another, doesn’t one of the Baltic languages use ‘ar ne?’?

  35. Kevin says:

    Re tag questions Welsh, I agree totally with Yenlit: “It’s all very convoluted!”

    Though in fact probably not as convoluted as in English — with its “was I? / didn’t you? / will she? / can’t he? / are they? / wouldn’t we? / shall I? etc. etc. etc.” options — but, then, I’m *used* to those!

    Someone should write a book about Welsh tag questions. No course I’ve ever seen deals adequately with them …I suspect because they tend to be looked down upon as belonging to the realm of “vulgar speech”.

  36. Abbie says:

    Thai is *big* on tag questions- here are a few off the top of my head:

    หรือ- leu (various spellings/pronunciations, rising tone)- basic tag question. Also means “or”; often combined with เปล่า or ไม่ as in หรือเปล่า- “or not?” Progressive aspect หรือยัง “or still?”
    ล่ะ la- asks for elaboration.
    ไหม- mai (high tone, but written as rising) tag question that asks for personal knowledge- เข้าใจไหม kao-jai mai “understand?” Used with ใช่ (kind of “yes” but not really) to make yes-or-no questions. เข้าใจใช่ไหม kao-jai chai-mai?
    If someone asks ใช่ไหม chai-mai you can answer ไม่ใช่ mai-chai (“no”), but that’s mai with a falling tone, a totally different word.

  37. BG says:

    Also Icelandic “ekki satt” like Norwegian, etc.

  38. jamin says:

    @thomas also in Dutch the suffix hè is analogous to n’est-ce pas; which itself always raises a smile. you often hear colloquially “en hè?,” followed by “ook en hè” which is a reductio ad absurdum of “how are you?…yes how are *you*”…” a la Americans :)…

  39. Eliza says:

    Actually, what happens most in Dutch is ‘toch?’ which has no proper translatable meaning into English, it’s more like an ‘invitation to agree’ OR we say ‘niet dan?’ = not then?

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