Miskito/Grammar

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Parts of Speech

Nouns

Determiners/Articles

In Miskito, the determiner follows the noun rather than precedes it like in English. In Miskito, ba and na are used as articles interchangeably depending on the proximity of the noun. "Na" is used if the noun is closeby. For example,

  • aras<n><sg><def><dst> ↔ aras ba if the horse is distant, or
  • aras<n><det> ↔ aras na if the horse is nearby.

Additionally, kum (a), kum kum (some), and ap (some) are used as articles in the exact same way. For instance,

  • aras<n><sg><ind> ↔ aras ap

aras ap → aras<n>(<sg>)<ind>

aras ba → aras<n>(<sg>)<def><dst>

Plural

The plural marker is "nani". To make a noun plural, "nani" should be used after the noun. If there is an article, it will follow the noun and the plural. For example,

  • aras<n><pl><det> ↔ aras nani ba
  • ilili<n><pl><det> ↔ ilili nani ba
  • luhpia<n><pl><det> ↔ luhpia nani ba

Gender

Gender should be placed directly after the noun. If there is an article, it will follow the noun and gender. "waitna" is used for male, "mairin" is used for female, and "wainhka" is used for male (animal). For example,

  • aras<n><f><det> ↔ aras mairin ba
  • aras<n><m><det> ↔ aras wainhka ba
  • tuktan<n><m><det> ↔ tuktan waitna ba

Plural and Gender

In the case both plural and gender are used, the sequence is noun followed by gender followed by plural followed by determiner. For example,

  • bip<n><f><pl><det> ↔ bip mairin nani ba
  • aras<n><m><pl><det> ↔ aras wainhka nani ba
  • tuktan<n><m><pl><det> ↔ tuktan waitna nani ba

Miskito Past Tense

Verbs in Miskito should be tagged <v>. The person tags needed will be <p1>, <p2>, <p3>.

Simple Past

The simple past tense of verbs is formed by combining a verb stem with a set of endings. The set of endings used depends on the ending of the verb stem: either a consonant or the vowels «i» or «u».

«prukaia» (to hit) with the stem «pruk»- ends in a consonant:

  • prukaia<v><past><p1> ↔ prukri
  • prukaia<v><past><p2> ↔ prukram
  • prukaia<v><past><p3> ↔ prukan

«diaia» (to drink) with the stem «di»- ends in a vowel «i»:

  • diaia<v><past><p1> ↔ diri
  • diaia<v><past><p2> ↔ diram
  • diaia<v><past><p3> ↔ din

«buaia» (to rise/get up) with the stem «bu»- ends in a vowel «u»:

  • buaia<v><past><p1> ↔ buri
  • buaia<v><past><p2> ↔ buram
  • buaia<v><past><p3> ↔ buan

Adjectives