A mirative (or admirative; abbreviated mir) is a particular grammatical element in some languages that indicates unexpected and new information. The grammatical category involving miratives is known as mirativity.

The seminal article on mirativity is Scott DeLancey (1997).



Languages that have miratives include Ainu, Albanian, Tibetan, Turkish, Western Apache, Barbacoan languages (Tsafiki, Cha'palaa, Awa Pit), Hare (Slavey), Korean, and the constructed language Na'vi.


The non-personal knowledge past tense paradigm may be used to express the mirative in the Aymara language. This usage is most striking with a first-person actor:

Ukaruw jamp’att’ataytxa.
{Uka-ru-w(a) jamp’a.t(a)-t’a-tayt(a)-xa}
that.one-ALL-AFF kiss-M-1->3non.personal.knowledge-TOP
‘I’ve kissed that one.’



Kız-ınız çok iyi piyano çal-ıyor-muş.

daughter-your very good piano play-PRES-MIR

Your daughter plays the piano very well!

DeLancey (1997)


Western Apache


딸이 피아노를 완전 잘 하네요.

ttal-i phiano-lul wanjen jal ha-ney-yo.
daughter-SUBJ piano-OBJ very well do-MIR-HON

Your daughter plays the piano very well!


Nga lu sevin nìtxan nang.

2-SG be pretty very-ADV MIR

You are so very pretty!

Miratives and evidentials

Miratives often have a dual function indicating inferential evidentiality. Although there is an overlap between the marking of mirativity and evidentiality in some languages (e.g. Tibetan), other languages have two independent systems that mark both of these separately (e.g. Western Apache).

Translation into English

Miratives are often translated into English with an exclamatory intonation pattern.

See also


  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2004). Evidentiality. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-926388-4.
  • Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y.; & Dixon, R. M. W. (Eds.). (2003). Studies in evidentiality. Typological studies in language (Vol. 54). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company. ISBN 90-272-2962-7; ISBN 1-58811-344-2.
  • DeLancey, Scott (1997). "Mirativity: The grammatical marking of unexpected information". Linguistic Typology 1: 33–52. doi:10.1515/lity.1997.1.1.33. 
  • DeLancey, Scott (2001). "The mirative and evidentiality". Journal of Pragmatics 33: 369–382. doi:10.1016/S0378-2166(01)80001-1. 
  • Dickinson, Connie. (2002) Mirativity in Tsafiki, Studies in Language.
  • Slobin, D. I.; & Aksu, A. A. (1982). Tense, aspect and modality in the use of the Turkish evidential. In P. J. Hopper (Ed.), Tense-aspect: Between semantics & pragmatics. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

External links