Mirad Grammar/Lesson 1

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Lesson 1: What is this?[edit]

In this lesson, you will learn how to ask what an object is and to reply correctly. You will also learn how to say the plural of nouns and to describe them with adjectives.


Dialog 1
1. His se hos? What is this? ( = This is what? in Mirad order)
2. His se drar. This is a pencil.
3. Hus se hos? What is that? ( = That is what?)
4. Hus se dresem. That's a desk.
5. Hua dresem se aga. That desk is big.
6. Hia drar se oga. This pencil is small.
7. Hos se aga? What is big?
8. Hua dresem. That desk.
9. Hos se oga? What is small?
10. Hia drar. This pencil.
11. Hoa drari se oga? Which pencils are small?
12. Hia drari se oga. These pencils are small.


In the above dialog, you see words that begin with the letter h. These are a special type of word called determiners, or more specifically deictic determiners. These are words point out the context of something, for example, where something is located relative to the speaker. Such determiners can be pronouns or adjectives modifying a noun that follows. The h is pronounced just as in American English. The chart below show the deictic (pointing) determiners used in the dialog:
Dialog 1 Determiners
INTERROGATIVE hos?....what? hoa....which
PROXIMATE his....this hia....this, these
DISTAL hus....that hua....that, those
Deictic ("pointing") determiners always begin with the consonant h and are followed by a vowel that indicates whether it is interrogative, proximate (near the speaker), distal (away from the speaker), and more categories that will be learned later. The final letter, if s signals that the determiner is a pronoun referring to a thing. If the final consonant is a, it means that the determiner is an adjective that modifies the following noun. In fact, all adjectives in Mirad end in -a.
This may seem a little confusing to the learner at first, because in English, this as a pronoun (this [ = thing]) is not distinguished from this as a adjective (this [desk]). The two are distinguished in Mirad (his (this [thing]) vs. hia drar (this pencil).
Mirad students who speak Latin-based languages like French and Spanish need to know that adjectives in Mirad do not agree in gender and number with the noun they modify. So, hia (this) and hia (that) do not change form no matter what the object or person noun they modify. The same applies to descriptive adjectives like aga (big) and oga (small).

Pluralizing Nouns[edit]

Nouns, which always end in a consonant, are made plural by suffixing the vowel i to the noun. dresem = a desk, dresemi = desks; drar = a pencil, drari = pencils.
Dialog 1 Adjectival Determiners
hoa drar?....which pencil? hoa drari?....which pencils?
hia dresem....this desk hia dresemi....these desks
hua drar....that pencil hua drari....those pencils
hua aga dresem....that big desk hua aga dresemi....those big desks
hua oga drar....that little pencil hua oga drari....those little pencils

Adjective Opposites[edit]

Note that aga and oga are opposite in meaning. The stem vowels a and o spell the difference. If the stem vowel of a descriptive adjective is a, then its opposite will be o and the adjective with a will be the positive, greater, or better of the two values. In fact, there is an "in-between" values represented by the vowel e, as in the chart below:
Dialog 1 Three-Way Descriptive Adjectives
aga....big ega....normal oga....small
aza....strong eza....moderate oza....weak
If a single noun like drar is not modified by a determiner, then it means a pencil. A plural noun like dresemi, not modified by a determiner, means desks. In other words, there is no indefinite article in Mirad like a or an, but the idea is expressed through the lack of a determiner. More on the definite article in the next lesson.

Verb to be in the Present[edit]

The verb form used in the above dialog is se, which is the simple present tense form of the verb ser meaning to be. The form se is used with singular or plural subjects and therefore means is or are. In fact, you'll learn later that it can also serve for am; in other words, the form does not vary for number or person (I, you, he, she, we, they).

Lesson 1 Vocabulary[edit]

  • drar....pencil
  • dresem....desk
  • hos? / his / hus....what? / this (thing) / that (thing)
  • hoa? / hia / hua....which? / this / that
  • aga / oga....big / little
  • aza / oza....strong / weak
  • ser....to be
  • se....is / am / are (simple present tense)

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