Miskito/Lesson 4

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Miskitu Aisas!

Miskito Language Course

Lesson 3 4 Yaptiki ba Miskitu aisisa
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Contents My mother speaks Miskito

The -isa form

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What do they mean?
  • Does your mother speak Miskito?
  • — Yes. My mother speaks Miskito.
  • My children speak Miskito too.
  • — What are your children doing now?
  • — They are playing now.
  • — What is your mother doing?
  • — She is cooking food.
  • — Yaptikam ba Miskitu aisisa ki?
  • — Au. Yaptiki ba Miskitu aisisa.
  • Tuktiki nani ba sin Miskitu aisisa.
  • — Nanara tuktikam nani ba dia daukisa?
  • — Nanara witin nani pulisa.
  • — Yaptikam ba dia daukisa?
  • — Witin plun piakisa.
Practice Translate into English:
  1. Tuktiki ba utla ra pulisa.
  2. Mary Miskitu aisisa.
  3. Miguel plun piakisa.
  4. Mairin nani ba nanara dia daukisa?
  1. My child is playing in the house.
  2. Mary speaks Miskito.
  3. Miguel is cooking food.
  4. What are the women doing now?

Notice that these present tense forms all end in the letters -isa. They can each have various English translations depending on the context.


  • speaks
  • is speaking
  • speak
  • are speaking


does, makes (etc.)


cooks (etc.)


plays (etc.)

  • You may be interested to know that the -sa at the end of these forms is actually the sa you already know ("is, are"). The remaining part of each verb is its "i-form", a sort of participle, which we can think of being equivalent to the English "-ing" form. According to this analysis, pulisa comes from puli sa, i.e. "is/are + playing". The i-form is the stem of the verb (dauk-, pul- etc.) plus the ending -i.

The -ras form

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What do they mean?
  • Does your father speak Miskito?
  • — No. My father does not speak Miskito.
  • What is the man looking for?
  • — He isn't looking for anything.
  • Why is this child crying?
  • — He isn't crying now.
  • All the children are playing.
  • — Why isn't your child playing?
  • Aisikam ba Miskitu aisisa ki?
  • — Apia. Aisiki ba Miskitu aisaras.
  • Waitna ba dia plikisa?
  • — Witin diara plikras.
  • Tuktan na dia muni inisa?
  • — Nanara witin inras.
  • Tuktan nani sut pulisa.
  • — Tuktikam ba dia muni pulras?
Practice Make these sentences negative:
  1. Tuktiki ba utla ra pulisa.
  2. Mary Miskitu aisisa.
  3. Miguel plun piakisa.
  4. Yaptiki buk ba plikisa.
  5. Mairin nani sut naha daukisa.
  6. Yawan (we) inisa.
  1. Tuktiki ba utla ra pulras.
  2. Mary Miskitu aisaras.
  3. Miguel plun piakras.
  4. Yaptiki buk ba plikras.
  5. Mairin nani sut naha daukras.
  6. Yawan inras.

Most verb forms cannot be negated by placing apia in front of them as with sa. To make the verb negative, remove the -isa ending and put -ras in its place.


  • doesn't speak
  • isn't speaking
  • don't speak
  • aren't speaking


doesn't cry (etc.)


doesn't look for (etc.)


doesn't play (etc.)

  • Notice that aisaras is an exception. This verb's stem is really aisa-, but the -a- has dropped away in the positive form aisisa.
  • The -ras form is actually a sort of negative participle: aisaras, inras etc. mean something like "not speaking", "not crying" and so on. They can be followed by sa to make the full form aisaras sa "is not speaking" etc., but it is very common to omit sa here.

More notes:

  • Witin diara plikras: diara means "thing", but in negative sentences is used for "anything, nothing".
  • Tuktan is "child" when no possession is expressed (compare tuktika, tuktikam my/your child).
  • Sut all follows the noun it refers to: tuktan nani sut all (the) children.

Vocabulary and review

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speaks ~ doesn't speak
makes/does ~ doesn't make/do
thing, anything
cries ~ doesn't cry
cooks ~ doesn't cook
looks for ~ doesn't look for
plays ~ doesn't play

Say in Miskito:
What is your mother doing?

Yaptikam dia daukisa?

What are the children doing?

Tuktan nani ba dia daukisa?

Who is crying?

Ya inisa ki?

Is the dog playing?

Yul ba pulisa ki?

The dog is not playing.

Yul ba pulras.

It is looking for food.

Witin ba plun plikisa.

The children are looking for a book.

Tuktan nani ba buk kum plikisa.

We aren't looking for anything.

Yawan diara plikras.

We're speaking Miskito.

Yawan Miskitu aisisa.

What are the women cooking?

Mairin nani ba dia piakisa?

All the mangoes are very small.

Mangu nani sut sirpi pali sa.

These ones are not small, they're big.

Naha nani ba sirpi apia sa, tara sa.

Why are the women crying now?

Nanara mairin nani ba dia muni inisa?

Why aren't the men looking for food?

Waitna nani ba dia muni plun plikras?

Where are the Americans now?

Miriki nani nanara anira sa ki?

Lesson 3
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