Miskito/Lesson 8

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Miskitu Aisas!

Miskito Language Course

Lesson 7 8 Anira auma ki?
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Contents Where are you going?

Go, come, know and want

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What do they mean?

KARLA: Where are you going?

MARIA: I am going to the village.

KARLA: I am going there too. Are you coming with me to the shop?

MARIA: Yes, I'm coming with you.

KARLA: What do you want from the shop? Do you know?

MARIA: I don't know... I want food. My mother is coming to the house today. Do you know my mother?

KARLA: Yes, I know your mother well!

KARLA: Anira auma ki?

MARIA: Tawan ra auna.

KARLA: Yang sin bahara auna. Yang wal sap ra aulma?

MARIA: Au, man wal aulna.

KARLA: Sap wina dia want sma? Nu sma ki?

MARIA: Nu apia sna... Plun want sna. Naiwa yaptiki utla ra aula. Yaptiki ra nu sma ki?

KARLA: Au, yaptikam ra pain nu sna!

Practice Fill in the blank using the correct form of the verb given:
  1. Yang Bilwi ra __________. (waia)
  2. Man yang wal __________ ki? (balaia)
  3. Man dia muni __________? (waia)
  4. Yang sap kum ra __________. (waia)
  5. Sap ra man dia __________? (want kaia)
  6. Yang diara __________. (want kaia - negative)
  7. Tuktiki buk kum kum __________. (want kaia)
  8. Yang tuktikam ra pain __________. (nu kaia)
  9. Witin buk nani __________. (laik pali kaia - like a lot)
  1. Yang Bilwi ra auna.
  2. Man yang wal aulma ki?
  3. Man dia muni auma?
  4. Yang sap kum ra auna.
  5. Sap ra man dia want sma?
  6. Yang diara want apia sna.
  7. Tuktiki buk kum kum want sa.
  8. Yang tuktikam ra pain nu sna.
  9. Witin buk nani laik pali sa.

Present tense forms of the irregular verbs waia go and balaia come:

waia to go balaia to come







3, yawan



A few common compound verbs have kaia to be as their second component, the first component being an English loan word. The present tense of three of these are shown here:

nu kaia to know want kaia to want laik kaia to like


nu sna

want sna

laik sna


nu sma

want sma

laik sma

3, yawan

nu sa

want sa

laik sa

The negative

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What do they mean?

KARLA: Is your father coming too?

MARIA: No, he isn't coming. He is going to stay at home.

KARLA: What are you going to buy in the shop? Do you want fish?

MARIA: I'm not buying fish. My mother doesn't like fish. She doesn't eat fish. She only eats chicken.

KARLA: Do you have any chickens at home?

MARIA: No, I haven't got any chickens.

KARLA: Aisikam sin aula ki?

MARIA: Apia, witin balras sa. Witin utla ra takaskaisa.

KARLA: Man sap ra dia atkaisma? Inska want sma ki?

MARIA: Inska atkras sna. Yaptiki inska laik apia sa. Witin inska piras. Kalila wîna baman pisa.

KARLA: Utla ra kalila kum kum brisma ki?

MARIA: Apia, yang kalila kum sin briras.

Practice Make negative:
  1. Yaptiki ra kaikisna.
  2. Buk kum plikisma.
  3. Witin kalila nani atkisa.
  4. Utla kum brisna.
  5. Naha want sna.
  1. Yaptiki ra kaikras sna.
  2. Buk kum plikras sma.
  3. Witin kalila nani atkras sa.
  4. Utla kum briras sna.
  5. Naha want apia sna.

As we saw earlier, the form of verbs in -ras is a negative participle. The various tenses and persons can be expressed in the negative by placing the corresponding form of kaia after -ras, so for example the negative present tense of daukaia to do (next to the affirmative for comparison) is:




daukras sna



daukras sma

3, yawan


daukras sa

We can also use other tenses of kaia to form the corresponding negative tenses. However, the auxiliary kaia may be omitted leaving just the -ras-form; the intended person and tense must then be inferred from the context.

  • Remember: kaia itself has no -ras-form; apia is placed in front of the affirmative forms to make them negative: apia sna/sma/sa. The same holds for compounds with kaia such as want kaia, nu kaia etc.: want apia sna and so on.
  • The verbs piaia eat and briaia have belong to a special class: present pisna, brisna etc., negative priras, briras.

Past forms

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What do they mean?
  • The child played in the house.
  • The child was playing in the house.
  • The child didn't play/wasn't playing in the house.
  • The child didn't/doesn't play in the house.
  • This woman bought fish.
  • This woman was buying fish.
  • This woman didn't buy/wasn't buying fish.
  • This woman didn't/doesn't buy fish.
  • John saw some chickens.
  • John could see (literally "was seeing") some chickens.
  • John didn't/couldn't see any chickens.
  • John didn't/doesn't see any chickens.
  • Tuktan ba utla ra pulan.
  • Tuktan ba utla ra puli kan.
  • Tuktan ba utla ra pulras kan.
  • Tuktan ba utla ra pulras.
  • Mairin na inska atkan.
  • Mairin na inska atki kan.
  • Mairin na inska atkras kan.
  • Mairin na inska atkras.
  • Jan kalila kum kum kaikan.
  • Jan kalila kum kum kaiki kan.
  • Jan kalila kum sin kaikras kan.
  • Jan kalila kum sin kaikras.
Practice Put in the past tense, using the imperfect if possible:
  1. Tuktan ba utla ra pulisa.
  2. Witin kalila kum kum brisa.
  3. Aisiki inska want sa.
  4. Yaptiki inska atkras sa.
  5. Witin inska want apia sa.
  6. Witin tuktan ra kaikisa.
  7. Witin tuktan ra kaikras sa.
  1. Tuktan ba utla ra puli kan.
  2. Witin kalila kum kum bri kan.
  3. Aisiki inska want kan.
  4. Yaptiki inska atkras kan.
  5. Witin inska want apia kan.
  6. Witin tuktan ra kaiki kan.
  7. Witin tuktan ra kaikras kan.

As for the past tense, for now we shall limit ourselves to the third person, which as we know ends in -an in most verbs: pulan, atkan, kaikan etc. This may be called the simple past. There is also a compound past tense, the imperfect, formed by placing the past tense of kaia (kan in the third person) after the i-participle: puli kan, atki kan, kaiki kan.

  • The i-form of verbs is already familiar to you as the base of the present tense of regular verbs, so if you remove the ending -sa from the present pulisa what you are left with is the verb's i-form: puli.

The imperfect can often be translated by was playing, was buying etc. (or by the imperfect tense in Spanish, French etc., if you know a Romance language: thus puli kan is equivalent to jugaba, jouait and so on). The imperfect usually expresses an ongoing activity whereas the simple past expresses a specific act. The negative past is formed as you would now expect: the verb's -ras-form plus the past of kaia (kan in the third person): pulras kan. But once again, the auxiliary may be omitted: pulras.

  • Compound kaia-verbs (want kaia, nu kaia etc.) form the past, as we would expect, using the past of kaia, e.g. want kan wanted, nu kan knew, want apia kan didn't want etc.

Vocabulary and review

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cpd n
chicken meat
cpd v
cpd v
cpd v

Say in Miskito:
I am not going to school today.

(Yang) naiwa skul ra waras (sna).

Today I am staying at home with my mother.

Naiwa utla ra yaptiki wal takaskisna.

The children went to school yesterday.

Tuktan nani skul ra nahwala wan.

I am going to town.

Tawan ra auna.

What do you want from the shop?

Sap wina dia want sma?

My father knew your father.

Aisiki aisikam ra nu kan.

Do you like chicken?

(Man) kalila wîna laik sma?

Where are you going to cook the food?

Plun ba anira piakaisma ki?

I don't know.

Nu apia sna.

He didn't eat the fish.

Inska ba priras kan.

Lesson 7
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