Miskito/Lesson 10

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Miskitu Aisas!

Miskito Language Course

Lesson 9 10 Miskitu aisi banghwisna
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Contents We speak Miskito

Plural personal pronouns

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What do they mean?
  • I have a house.
  • We (exc.) have a house.
  • You (sg.) speak Miskito.
  • You (pl.) speak Miskito.
  • She/He is learning English.
  • They are learning English.
  • We (inc.) are learning English.
  • Yang utla kum brisna.
  • Yang nani utla kum brisna.
  • Man Miskitu aisisma.
  • Man nani Miskitu aisisma.
  • Witin Inglis bila lan takisa.
  • Witin nani Inglis bila lan takisa.
  • Yawan Inglis bila lan takisa.
Practice What do these mean?
  1. Man nani Miskitu aisisma ki?
  2. Yang nani krikri ra auna.
  3. Witin nani dia want sa ki?
  4. Man nani dur ba ahkia kwakwaisma?
  5. Yang nani dur ba yauhka kwakwaisna, bara man nani dimaisma.
  6. Witin nani naha tiarka nani ra dia muni ikan?
  7. Yang nani nu apia sna.
  1. Do you (plural) speak Miskito?
  2. We (exclusive) are going to bed.
  3. What do they want?
  4. When are you (pl.) going to open the door?
  5. We will open the door tomorrow, and then you will come in.
  6. Why did they kill these youths?
  7. We don't know.

Most plural personal pronouns are simply formed by placing nani after the singular pronoun, as we have already seen in the case of witin she, he, witin nani they. Thus man you (talking to one person), man nani you (talking to more than one person). So also with yang, but yang nani expresses "we" in the exclusive sense of "I and these other people (but not you)". We have already learnt that inclusive "we", i.e. when also including the person addressed, is yawan. In a sense, then, we may say that there are seven "persons" in Miskito, as follows:

singular plural

1 inclusive


1 exclusive


yang nani



man nani



witin nani

  • In fact we also sometimes encounter yawan nani, apparently to emphasise the notion of plurality, as in the sentence: Yawan nani sut ba Miskitu nani sa We are all Miskitos (i.e. including you).

There are no special plural verb forms. The form for each singular person is also used for the corresponding plural person, e.g. in the present -isna for "I" and "we (exc.)", -isma for "you" both singular and plural, and (as you already know) -isa for "she, he" or "they". As you also already know, yawan takes the same verb form as the third person. So for example the full present tense of aisaia to speak is as follows:

singular plural

1 inclusive

yawan aisisa

1 exclusive

yang aisisna

yang nani aisisna


man aisisma

man nani aisisma


witin aisisa

witin nani aisisa

These principles apply to all verbs in all tenses.


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What do they mean?
  • I speak Miskito.
  • We (exc.) speak Miskito.
  • What are you (sg.) doing?
  • What are you (pl.) doing?
  • She/He has a house.
  • They have a house.
  • Miskitu aisisna.
  • Miskitu aisi banghwisna.
  • Dia daukisma ki?
  • Dia dauki banghwisma ki?
  • Utla kum brisa.
  • Utla kum bri banghwisa.
Practice If it is possible to use banghwaia, use it and omit the superfluous pronoun.
  1. Witin nani yang nani wal aisisa.
  2. Man nani yang nani wal aisisma.
  3. Yang nani man nani wal aisisna.
  4. Yawan dia daukaisa ki?
  5. Yang nani dia daukaisna ki?
  6. Yang nani inska want sna.
  7. Man nani sin inska want sma ki?
  8. Au, yang nani sin.
  9. Yawan sut inska want sa.
  1. Yang nani wal aisi banghwisa.
  2. Yang nani wal aisi banghwisma.
  3. Man nani wal aisi banghwisna.
  4. Yawan dia daukaisa ki?
  5. Dia dauki banghwaisna ki?
  6. Yang nani inska want sna.
  7. Man nani sin inska want sma ki?
  8. Au, yang nani sin.
  9. Yawan sut inska want sa.

Sometimes the subject is omitted in Miskito sentences, the person of the subject being indicated by the verb, e.g. Miskitu aisisna (I) speak Miskito. In such cases it is possible to indicate that the subject is plural (e.g. "we", not "I") using a different procedure: the auxiliary verb banghwaia. This auxiliary serves simply to indicate that the subject of the main verb is plural. When thus used, banghwaia takes whatever ending you would expect the verb to take depending on the person, tense etc. The main verb precedes bangwaia and adopts the invariable i-form. For example, the present tense of aisaia can also be given as follows (omitting the subject pronouns):

singular plural

1 exclusive


aisi banghwisna



aisi banghwisma



aisi banghwisa

  • In Miskito auxiliary verbs always follow the main verb.

So also:

singular plural

Present (third person)


dauki banghwisa

make(s), is/are making

Future (third person)


dauki banghwaisa

will make, is/are going to make

Past (third person)


dauki banghwan




dauki banghwras

doesn't/don't make, isn't/aren't making etc.

and even with compound tenses, e.g.

singular plural

Imperfect (third person)

dauki kan

dauki banghwi kan

was/were making

Negative past (third person)

daukras kan

dauki banghwras kan

didn't make, wasn't/weren't making
  • Observe the order of auxiliaries in such cases.
  • The verb kaia to be does not have an i-form.

A-verbs and i-verbs

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What do they mean?


  • What is she doing?
  • What are they doing?
  • What did she do?
  • She isn't doing (didn't do) anything.
  • What are do you want to do?


  • He is speaking Miskito.
  • They are speaking Miskito.
  • He spoke Miskito.
  • He didn't speak Miskito.
  • Do you want to speak Miskito?


  • She has a dog.
  • They have a dog.
  • She had a dog.
  • She doesn't have any animals.
  • Do you want to have a dog?


  • Witin dia daukisa?
  • Witin nani dia dauki banghwisa?
  • Witin dia daukan?
  • Witin diara kum sin daukras.
  • Man dia daukaia want sma?


  • Witin Miskitu aisisa.
  • Witin nani Miskitu aisi banghwisa.
  • Witin Miskitu aisan.
  • Witin Miskitu aisaras.
  • Man Miskitu aisaia want sma?


  • Witin yul kum brisa.
  • Witin nani yul kum bri banghwisa.
  • Witin yul kum brin.
  • Witin daiwan nani briras.
  • Man yul kum briaia want sma?
Practice Complete the sentence using the right form of the verb given.
  1. Man nani Miskitu __________? (aisaia)
  2. Apia, yang nani Miskitu __________. (aisaia)
  3. Tuktiki nani ba Miskitu __________ banghwisa. (aisaia)
  4. Aisikam Bilwi ra naiwa __________ ki? (waia)
  5. Apia, witin naiwa __________. (waia)
  6. Nahwala __________. (waia)
  7. Baha waitnika nani ba sin witin wal __________ banghwan. (waia)
  8. Yauhka man dia __________? (piaia)
  9. Nu apia sna. Yang diara kum sin __________. (briaia)
  10. Yang nahwala mangu kum kum __________. (piaia)
  11. Baha tiarka nani ba plun __________ ki? (briaia)
  12. Au, witin nani plun __________ banghwisa. (piaia)
  1. Man nani Miskitu aisisma?
  2. Apia, yang nani Miskitu aisaras.
  3. Tuktiki nani ba Miskitu aisi banghwisa.
  4. Aisikam Bilwi ra naiwa auya ki?
  5. Apia, witin naiwa waras.
  6. Nahwala wan.
  7. Baha waitnika nani ba sin witin wal wi banghwan.
  8. Yauhka man dia piaisma?
  9. Nu apia sna. Yang diara kum sin briras.
  10. Yang nahwala mangu kum kum pin.
  11. Baha tiarka nani ba plun brisa ki?
  12. Au, witin nani plun pi banghwisa.

Most Miskito verbs have stems ending in a consonant, but a few verb stems end in an a or a i and these display some irregularities in the way the verb endings are added. As far as the verb forms you have studied so far are concerned, the following table summarises these. Only third person forms are shown, but the first and second forms can be deduced from these straightforwardly (e.g. like brisa she/he has, so also brisna I have and brisma you have, etc.).

consonant stems: dauk- a-stems: aisa- i-stems: bri-

























The full stem of each type of verb is best perceived in the negative, where -ras is always added directly to the stem. The final a of a-stems merges into the ending and disappears with endings that begin with an a or an i, such as the infinitive -aia, the participle -i, the present -isa, the future -aisa and so on. In the past (third person), -n is added to the stem (or the stem-final a merges into the ending -an, if you prefer to look at it that way). The final i of i-stems merges into endings that begin with an i (but the i is retained before other endings); in the past, -n (not -an) is added to the stem. Only a very small number of verb belong to the a- and i-classes. The most common ones are:

  • aisa- speak
  • wa- go
  • bri- have
  • di- drink
  • pi- eat
  • swi- leave, let, forget
  • wi- say
  • Notice that waia to go and wiaia to say have identical i-forms: wi. They also have similar present tenses (e.g. wisna I go or I say), but for "I go" it is more usual to find the irregular form auna, which you already know.

The -a or -ya ligature

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What do they mean?
  • There are many trees here.
  • This tree is very high.
  • There is a dog in the house.
  • That dog is small.
  • There are many stones on the ground.
  • In this land [they] speak Miskito (i.e. Miskito is spoken).
  • Why are those stones in the river? (What are those stones doing in the river?)
  • There is a lot of water in this river.
  • We will drink the water of this river.
  • Nahara dus ailal bara sa.
  • Naha dusa yakwra pali sa.
  • Utla ra yul kum bara sa.
  • Baha yula sirpi sa.
  • Tasba ra walpa ailal bara sa.
  • Naha tasbaya ra Miskitu aisisa.
  • Baha walpaya nani dia muni awala ra sa?
  • Naha awalka ra li ailal bara sa.
  • Yawan naha awalka laya diaisa.
Practice Follow this example:
  • Maria buk kum brisa. (pain sa) →
  • Maria bukka pain sa.
  1. Jan tibil kum brisa. (tara sa)
  2. Karla yul kum brisa. (sirpi sa)
  3. Yabal ba walpa kum kum brisa. (ailal)
  4. Awala ba li brisa. (tawan tuktika nani ba di banghwan)
  5. Yawan tasba brisa. (yawan iwras kan)
  1. Jan tibilka tara sa.
  2. Karla yula sirpi sa.
  3. Yabal walpaya nani ba ailal sa.
  4. Tawan tuktika nani ba awala laya ba di banghwan.
  5. Yawan wan tasbaya ra iwras kan.

There are a few nouns which suffix -a rather than -ka as a ligature:


naha dusa


naha yula

and also some which suffix -ya, e.g.


naha tasbaya


naha walpaya


naha laya

  • Notice the irregularity in li water.

Vocabulary and reading

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much, many
plural auxiliary
old man
to drink
lig. -a
cordoba, dollar, money
lig. laya
you (plural)
to leave, to let, to forget
young man, youth
to say
tall, high
we (exclusive)



Wahma wâl wark plikaia want kan, bara witin nani utla wina taki banghwan. Naha wahmika nani ba plun bri banghwras kan. Wahma kum lalah yumhpa baman bri kan. Wahma wala ba sin lalah yumhpa bri kan.

Wahma wâl na yabal ra dama kum kaiki banghwan, bara witin wal aisi banghwan.

"Anira auma ki?" wi banghwan.

"Yang wark plikisna" win.

"Yang nani sin wark plikisna. Man wal wi banghwaisna."

Check the translation


Two young men wanted to look for work, and so they left home. These young men didn't have any food. One young man only had three cordobas. The other had three cordobas too.

These two young men saw an old man on the road, and they spoke with him.

"Where are you going?" they said.

"I am looking for work," he said.

"We are looking for work too. We will go with you."

Wahma wâl ba dia daukaia want kan?

Witin nani wark plikaia want kan.

Plun bri banghwi kan?

Apia, plun bri banghwras kan.

Lalah bri banghwi kan?

Au, lalah yumhpa bri kan.

Dama kum anira kaiki banghwan?

Yabal ra kaiki banghwan.

Dama ba dia dauki kan?

Witin sin wark pliki kan.

Lesson 9
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