Learn Mini in 20 minutes

Say it like you mean it

Mini has 19 letters (a b d e f g i j k l m n o p r s t u v). All of the consonants (b d f g j k l m n p r s t v) are pronounced exactly the same as they are in English. Phew!

A — ah — father
E — eh — met
I — ee — eat
O — oh - moment
U — oo — moo
animale = ah-nee-MAH-leh, not ah-nee-mah-LEH
veji = VEH-jee, not veh-JEE

Some vocab

Good news: You already know a lot of Mini words because they come from English. What does the word mini mean? That’s right, it means mini or small.

Mini    Englishave     have
go go
kan can
make make
man human / person
mi me
rason reason

The big idea

Now it’s time to get started. There’s basically only one big idea in Mini, and that’s that every word can be any part of speech. A word like fogo can mean fire, burn, or fiery depending upon how it’s used in a sentence. To make this work in practice, Mini uses a few one-letter words to indicate which part of speech a word is in a sentence.

[subject] i [verb] a [object]Mi i manja.              
I eat.
Bob i manja a veji.
Bob eats veggies.
Man i bibe a vasa.
A person drinks water.
Bob i make a manja.
Bob makes food.
Mi i vasa a veji.
I water the plants.

That depends on what the meaning of “is” is

Mini doesn’t really have a word for “is.” If you want to say that something is something else, you just use the word a to link the two items:

[subject] a [noun]Bob a man.
Bob is a person.
Veji a manja.
Vegetables are food.
[subject] e [adjective]Kosa e bon.
The thing is good.
Bob e vasa.
Bob is wet.
Manja e Bob.
The food is Bob's.
Word   Functioni      introduces the verb
a introduces direct object & noun complement
e introduces adjective complement

All your ducks in a row

In Mini, adjectives come before the noun like they do in English:

mega loke                 big placeno mui kolo               not much colordika feo bebe             fat ugly baby
Bob i manja rapi.         Bob eats fast.Bob i no manja mui rapi.  Bob does not eat very fast.

Hi, my pronouns are si/si

Mini uses the following personal pronouns:

mi   first person     I, me
tu second person you
si third person he, she, it, him, her
mi-ale      we (me-all)
si-ale they
tu kaja        your box
si note his/her/its note
mi-ale name our name

Prep school

Prepositional phrases come after the words they describe in basically the same way as in English. If the phrase is describing the verb, it can go after the direct object.

de      from, of, about, by, out of, made of
en in, at, on
go to, for, towards
kon with
sama like, as, than, same

Bob e kon Alisa. Bob is with Alice.
Bob e de Amerika. Bob is from America.
Alisa i viva en London. Alice lives in London.
Da e go tu. That’s for you.
Mi i toma go tu a kosa. I take the thing to you.
Mi e sama tu. I am like you.
Alisa i go a retorante.         Alice goes to the restaurant.Alisa i kon a Bobi.             Alice includes Bob.
Mi i kipa en.                
I stay in.

Conjunction junction, what’s your function?

Mini uses three conjunctions, which work basically the same as English:

an    and
pero but
u or, either
Alisa an Bobi i pale mui.
Alice and Bob talk a lot.
Tu i vole a kafe u tea?
Do you want coffee or tea?
Mi i kamina en foreta, pero si i kipa en.
I walk in the forest, but he stays inside.
Mi i vole go an.               I want to go too.
Si a pero kinde. He is but a child.
Tu i no kan go a u jalan. You can’t go either way.

Yes or no

Yes-or-no questions can be formed by using a question mark and rising intonation (when spoken) or by adding a tag question like no?, ja?, or u ke? to the end of a sentence.

Si i vole resi?         Does he want to sleep?
Si i vole go, u ke? Does he want to go or what?
No, si i no vole go. No, he does not want to go.

You what?

In English, words like who, what, where, when, and why are used to ask questions. Since Mini is mini, there’s only one question word: the pronoun ke (what). This word can be used to form all the other question words.

Tu i ke?                        You what?
Tu a ke (man)? Who are you?
Tu e ke? How are you?
Tu i go en ke tempo? When (at what time) do you go?
Tu i kipa go ke rason? Why (for what reason) do you stay?
Tu i manja a ke mui? How much do you eat?
Tu i vole uti a ke kosa? Which thing do you want to use?

I’ll have what she’s having

The question word ke (what) which we introduced above can also be used to introduce dependent clauses.

Mi i senti ke si i make.
I feel that it works.
Mi i ave a ke si i ave.
I have what she has.
Tu i vole manja afa ke tu i aroma a pan.
You want to eat after (that) you smell the bread.

Just do it!

To form a command, simply omit the subject.

I go!                      Go!
I manja a tu veji! Eat your veggies!
I no pale! Don’t talk!

Count von Count

Let’s count some numbers!

1   uno
2 duo
3 san
4 fo
5 penta
6 sita
7 seven
8 ba
9 nin
10 ten
Man i ave a uno nase, duo oko, an penta diji en kada mano.
A person has one nose, two eyes, and five fingers on each hand.

Greetings, Earthling

Now let’s practice some common phrases in Mini.

Tu name a ke?
What's your name?
Salu, mi name a Bob.
Hello, my name is Bob.
Tu e ke?
How are you?
Ke i pasa?
What's up?
Bon maten!
Good morning!
Sori, toilete e en ke?
Sorry, where is the toilet?
I favo pale lenta.
Please talk slowly.
De nulo. / Sama-sama.
You're welcome.


If you’ve read up to here, congrats! You now know a lot of what you need to understand and speak Mini. There’s still a few advanced topics left to cover, but you can read about them in the next lesson.

Next lesson: Learn Mini II: Advanced Mini

More resources at minilanguage.com



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