Mirad Grammar/Lesson 2

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Lesson 2: Who are you?[edit | edit source]

In this lesson you will learn how to ask and respond about people.

Dialog[edit | edit source]

Dialog: Asking About People
Hay, et se hot? Hello, who are you? (Lit. ...you are who?)
At se eta tuxut. I'm your teacher.
Ay at se eta tixut. And I'm your student.
Va. Et se ata fia tixut. Yes. You are my good student.
Hut be ha dresem se hot? Who is that person at the desk? (Lit. That person at the desk is who?)
Hut se gay tixut. That (person) is also a student.
Ita dyun se hos? What is his name. (Lit: His name is what?)
Ita dyun se John. Eta dyun se hos, hey Dut? His name is John. What's your name, (oh) sir?
Ata dyun se Anderson. Ay eta dyun? My name is Mr. Anderson. And your name?
Se Mary. It's Mary.
Hus se via dyun. That's a beautiful name.

Animate Determiners and Personal Pronouns[edit | edit source]

In the last lesson, you learned the question word hos? meaning what? and referring to a thing. In this lesson, we introduced the interrogative animate pronominal deictic determiner hot?, which means who? or whom, referring to a person. Here is a chart of possible answers, i.e. pronominal deictic determiners and personal pronouns and pronominal adjectives:
Singular Animate Pronouns and Determiners
interrogative determiner hot?....who(m)? hota?....whose?
proximal determiner hit....this person hita....this person's
distal determiner hut....that person huta....that person's
1st person singular at....I (or) me ata....my
2nd person singular et....you eta....your
3rd person singular it....he (or) she, him (or) her ita....his (or) her
Notice that hot differs from hos in the final consonant. Pronouns ending in -t refer to persons, while those ending in s refer to things.

Possessive Adjectives[edit | edit source]

A possessive adjective is formed from the pronoun by the addition of the adjectival ending -a. So, at (I/me) becomes ata (my).

Descriptive Adjectives[edit | edit source]

Descriptive adjectives end in the vowel -a. There are usually two sets of semantically opposing adjectives: Those with a three-way opposition like aga (big) - ega (normal) - oga (small) and those with a two-way opposition like via (beautiful) - vua (ugly). The vowels a and i are positive, while the vowels o and u are negative. The vowel e is in-between.
The descriptive adjective via (beautiful), because of the i-vowel stem, is a positive attribute. Changing i to u yields vua (ugly).
Here are some examples in sentences:
  • Hus se vua dyun.....That is an ugly name.
  • Eta dyun se vua.....Your name is ugly.
Likewise, fia (good) can be easily transformed to fua (bad).
  • Ata tuxut se fia.....My teacher is good.
  • Hit se fua tixut.....This is a bad student.
  • Hia tuxut se fia ay fua.....This teacher is good and bad.
Knowing the above, try filling in the blanks below:
  • Iga means slow, so uga means ________.
  • Vaa means affirmative and vea means possible, so voa means _________.
  • Fua means bad, so fia means ___________.
  • Afwa means allowed, so ofwa means ___________.

Three-way Scaling of Words[edit | edit source]

As learned in the last lesson, adjectives and other words with an a vowel stem can be part of a three-way scale, as shown in this chart:
Three-way Scaling
va....yes ve....maybe vo....no
aga....big ega....normal oga....small
ay....and, also ey....or, else oy....but
hay...hello hey...hey, oh hoy...goodbye.
So, since you know that va means yes from this lesson's dialog, you now no how to say maybe and no.
  • Eta dyun se John, va?....Your name is John, yes?
  • Vo. Ata dyun se Bill.....No. My name is Bill.
  • Hua tuxut sefia, va?....That teacher is good, right?
  • Ve. It se fia ay fua.....Maybe. He (or she) is good and bad.
  • Hia dresem se oga oy fia.....This desk is small but good.
  • Hit se via ay hut se vua.....This person is nice-looking and that one is ugly.
  • Via ey vua, hia tuxut se fia.....Beautiful or ugly, this teacher is good.
When addressing a senior male, use hey Dut (oh, Mr.). Hey is a vocative interjection. Similar, use hay for hello and hoy for goodbye. Notice that these greetings have the a - e - i three-way scaling. Dut means sir, mister (the female version being Duyt (Ms., Ma'am, Madam, Mrs., etc.).
  • Hey Dut Johnson, .......Hey Mr. Johnson.
  • Hey Duyt Johnson, hay!....Mrs. Johnson, hi!
  • Va. Hoy!....Yes. Goodbye!

The Definite Article ha[edit | edit source]

The definite article ha (the) is really just another adjectival deictic determiner. It is used exactly as in English. Unlike in the Romance languages and other languages, ha is invariable in its adjective form and there is no agreement in gender or number with the noun it modifies. In fact, this is true of all adjectives in Mirad.
  • Ha dresem se aga.....The desk is big.
  • Ha dresemi se aga.....The desks are big.
  • Ha aga dresemi se via.....The big desks are beautiful.
This adjectival deictic determiner can be made into an animate and inanimate pronoun by suffixing -t or -s, as shown in the following chart:
Definite article ha as a deictic determiner
DEFINITE ha....the hat....the person, he, she has....the thing, it
PROXIMATE hia....this hit....this person, he, she his...this thing, this
DISTAL hua....that hut....that person, he, she hus....that thing, that
  • Hat be hua dresem se Joe.....The one at that desk is Joe.
  • Hat se ata tuxut.....He is my teacher.
In fact, -s and -t can be suffixed to most any noun to mean an X thing or an X person, eg.:
  • Ha tuxut se ha agat be ha dresem.....The teacher is the big fellow at the desk.
  • Agas ey ogas?....A big one or a small one?
The thing -s and person -t suffixes are really abbreviated stubs of the words sun (thing) and tob (person).

The Preposition be[edit | edit source]

You will notice the phrase in the dialog be ha dresem, which means at the desk. The preposition be comes before its object and indicates general location or position. It can have various translations, though, as shown here:
  • be ha dresem....at the desk
  • be ha mimkum....at the shore
  • be abem bi ha tam....on top of the house
  • It se be sinibar....he is on television
  • be em bi his....in place of (= instead of) this

Lesson 2 Vocabulary[edit | edit source]

  • tixut / tuxut....student/teacher
  • dut / duyt....sir, mister, Mr./Mrs., Miss, Ms., Madam, Ma'am
  • dyun....name
  • at / et / it....I (or) me/you/he (or) him, she (or) her
  • hot? / hit / hut....who(m)?, this person/that person
  • fia / fua....good/bad
  • via / vua....beautiful/ugly
  • hota? / hita / huta....whose? / this person's / that person's
  • ata / eta / ita....my / your / his (or) her
  • va / ve / vo....yes / maybe / no
  • hay / hey / hoy....hello /hey /goodbye
  • ay / ey / oy....and /or /but
  • gay / gey / goy....also / even / except
  • be....at (a general preposition indicating location)

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