Miskito and English/Contrastive Grammar

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Miq-Eng tests

Object Order

Miskito is an SOV language, so the object phrase always follows the noun phrase and generally precedes the verb phrase (there are some exceptions). In contrast, English is an SVO language.

  • (miq) Yang wal wîna kalila piras. → (eng) I don't eat meat and chicken
    (miq) yang<prn><subj><p1> wîna<n> kalila<n> piras<v><p1><neg> → (eng) I<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> eat<vblex><pres> meat<n> and<cnjcoo> chicken<n>
  • (miq) Titan pata ba pat ridi sa. → (eng) The breakfast is ready.
    (miq) titan<n> pata<n> ba<det><def><dst> pat<adv> ridi<adj> sa<vkaia><pres><p3> → (eng) The<det><def> breakfast<n> be<vbser><pres><p3> ready<adj>

Adjective Order

In Miskito, adjectives come between the subject and the determiner. This is the reverse in English.

  • (miq) Bîp mairin nani ba yabal ra kan → (eng) The cows were on the road
    (miq) bîp<n> mairin<adj> nani<det><pl> ba<det><def><dst> yabal<n> ra<post> kan<vkaia><past><p3> → (eng) The<det><def> cows<n><pl> be<vbser><past><p3> on<pr> the<det><def> road<n>
  • (miq) Yang plun damni daukri → (eng) I made sweet food
    (miq) yang<prn><subj><p1> plun<n> damni<adj> daukri<v><past><p1> → (eng) I<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> made<vblex><past><p1> sweet<adj> food<n>

Subject Deletion

Unlike English, first person verbs can stand alone to make a grammatically correct sentence.

  • (miq) Mai kaikisna → (eng) I see you
    (miq) mai<prn><obj><p2> kaikisna<v><pres><p1> → (eng) I<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> see<vblex><pres><p1> you<prn><obj><p2><sg>
  • (miq) Ai kaikan → (eng) He saw me
    (miq) ai<prn><obj><p1> kaikan<v><past><p3> → (eng) he<prn><subj><p3><sg> see<vblex><past><p3> me<prn><obj><p1><sg>

Plurals

In Miskito, plurality is created by adding the word nani after the noun. In contrast, English creates plurals by adding s to the end of nouns.

  • (miq) Yang bîp nani kaikri → (eng) I saw the cows
    (miq) yang<prn><subj><p1> bîp<n> nani<det><pl> kaikri<v><past><p1> → (eng) I<prn><subj><p1><mf><sg> saw<vblex><past><p1> the<det><def> cows<n><pl>
  • (miq) Witin nani pain sa → (eng) They are good
    (miq) witin<prn><subj><p3> nani<det><pl> pain<adj> sa<vkaia><pres><p3> → (eng) They<prn><subj><p3><sg> are<vbser><pres><p3> good<adj>

Possessives

Posession in Miskito modifies the possessed noun with a suffix. Whereas in English, possession is marked on the possessor.

  • (miq) man araskam → (eng) Your horse
    (miq) man<prn><p2> araskam<n><px2> → (eng) your<det><px2sg> horse<n>
  • (miq) Yang bîkki tibil ra sa → (eng) My bag is on the table
    (miq) yang<prn><subj><p1> bîkki<n><px1> tibil<n> ra<post> sa<vkaia><pres><p3> → (eng) my<det><px1sg> bag<n> is<vbser><pres><p3> on<pr> the<det><def> table<n>