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Possibly from (ad)mirative, from French admiratif (tending to admire) (used by French diplomat and scholar Auguste Dozon (1822–1890), imitating the use of the Ancient Greek ἀπροσδόκητος (aprosdókētos, unexpected) in a similar context by Albanian translator and scholar Kostandin Kristoforidhi (1826–1895)),[1] from Latin admīrārī,[2] present active infinitive of admīror (to admire, respect; to be astonished, to be surprised at), from ad- (prefix meaning ‘to’) + mīror (to admire, marvel at; to be amazed or astonished at) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *smey- (to be glad, laugh)).



mirative (countable and uncountable, plural miratives)

  1. (uncountable, grammar) A grammatical mood that expresses (surprise at) unexpected revelations or new information.
    • 1986, Wallace [L.] Chafe and Johanna Nichols, editors, Evidentiality: The Linguistic Coding of Epistemology, Norwood, N.J.: Ablex Publishing Corporation, →ISBN, footnote 7, page 8:
      Although the Maidu 'evidential' -wéw (Shipley 1964:45) might correspond somewhat to the Washo visual, and the (unexemplified) Sierra Miwok 'circumstantial evidence' marker taˀ, tat, ˀiš- (Freeland 1951:169) may correspond to the Washo inferential (mirative).
    • 2011, Elena Kalinina, “Exclamative Clauses in the Languages of the North Caucasus and the Problem of Finiteness”, in Gilles Authier and Timur Maisak, editors, Tense, Aspect, Modality and Finiteness in East Caucasian Languages (Diversitas Linguarum; 30), Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia: Universitätsverlag Dr. N. Brockmeyer, →ISBN, ISSN 1619-5116, pages 197–198:
      In Archi mirativity is grammaticalized as part of the verbal category of evidentiality, so the study of the mirative in Nakh-Daghestanian languages might help to identify the meaning of exclamatives more precisely.
    • 2013, Willem F. H. Adelaar, “A Quechuan Mirative?”, in Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Anne Storch, editors, Perception and Cognition in Language and Culture (Brill’s Studies in Language, Cognition and Culture; 3), Leiden; Boston, Mass.: Brill, →ISBN, ISSN 1879-5412, section 3 (Meaning and Use), pages 99–100:
      The Tarms Quechua Mirative often refers to information that is withheld from the addressee until the speaker sees fit to reveal it, a frequent strategy in narratives of which the unexpected outcome is reserved for the end. By consequence, the speaker him/herself need not be under the impact of surprise any longer when using the Mirative. [] Characteristically, actions performed during one's sleep or in a state of unconsciousness are expressed in the Mirative []. The Mirative can also be used in recounting dreams [].
  2. (countable, grammar) (An instance of) a form of a word which conveys this mood.
    • 2003, Willem J. de Reuse, “Evidentiality in Western Apache (Athabaskan)”, in Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon, editors, Studies in Evidentiality (Typological Studies in Language; 54), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN, ISSN 0167-7373, section 2.2.1 (The Mirative/Inferential), page 81:
      [T]he speaker had heard on the radio that a bear had attacked a woman. From the description of her wounds on the radio, he infers, using the mirative/inferential particle lą̄ą̄, that she was dragged by the bear. [] This particle also implies that the speaker was surprised at the event. Bear attacks are uncommon in Arizona, and the woman was someone the speaker was acquainted with. In fact, lą̄ą̄ is more fundamentally a mirative than an inferential, []
    • 2018, Gwendolyn Hyslop, “Mirativity and Egophoricity in Kurtöp”, in Simeon Floyd, Elisabeth Norcliffe, and Lila San Roque, editors, Egophoricity (Typological Studies in Language; 118), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, DOI:10.1075/tsl.118, →ISBN, page 117:
      He [Timothy Jowan Curnow] points out that miratives are very rare with first person, more common with second, and most common with third person. In all cases, however, non-miratives are more common than miratives.

Related terms[edit]



mirative (not comparable)

  1. (grammar) Of or relating to the mirative mood.
    • 1964, William Horton Jacobsen, Jr., “The Prefinal Suffixes”, in A Grammar of the Washo Language (unpublished Ph.D. in Linguistics dissertation), Berkeley, Calif.: University of California, Berkeley, OCLC 906912201, paragraph 28.7, page 630:
      The prefinal suffix -áʔyiʔ Mirative indicates that the speaker knows of the action described by the verb, not having observed it occur, but only inferentially from observation of its effects. It thus commonly conveys an emotion of surprise.
    • 1997, Scott DeLancey, “Mirativity: The Grammatical Marking of Unexpected Information”, in Linguistic Typology[1], volume 1, Berlin; New York, N.Y.: Mouton de Gruyter, ISSN 1430-0532, page 36:
      In the first in-depth analysis of a mirative construction which I am aware of, discussing the Turkish "evidential" perfect, Slobin & Aksu (1983; see also Aksu-Koç & Slobin 1986) give a unified characterization of the category as marking that the speaker's mind was "not prepared" for the information which is now being relayed. [] In this paper I adopt the older term "mirative" for the marked category, leaving the unmarked category unlabelled.
    • 2003, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, “Evidentiality in Typological Perspective”, in Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon, editors, Studies in Evidentiality (Typological Studies in Language; 54), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN, ISSN 0167-7373, page 192:
      This is why a noneyewitness evidentiality specification in a two-term system and an inferential evidential in a three-term system may acquire a mirative extension. In Quechua [] the reported evidential can be used in a mirative sense.
    • 2012, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, “The Essence of Mirativity”, in Linguistic Typology, volume 16, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, DOI:10.1515/lingty-2012-0017, ISSN 1430-0532, page 436:
      A "mirative" meaning can be associated with information acquired through any means – be it "inferentially from observation" of the effects of the event, as in Washo (Jacobsen 1964: 630), or through first-hand observation, inference or hearsay as in Kham (Watters 2002: 300).



Derived terms[edit]



  1. ^ Victor A. Friedman (2003) , “Evidentiality in the Balkans with Special Attention to Macedonian and Albanian”, in Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R. M. W. Dixon, editors, Studies in Evidentiality (Typological Studies in Language; 54), Amsterdam; Philadelphia, Pa.: John Benjamins Publishing Company, →ISBN, page 192.
  2. ^ James A. H. Murray [et al.], editor (1884–1928) , “Admirative, a.”, in A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles (Oxford English Dictionary), volume I (A–B), London: Clarendon Press, OCLC 15566697, page 120, column 1.

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