Grammaire » 48 » The Passive Voice

This grammar note is available in the South Qikiqtaaluk dialect only.


The passive voice is used in Inuktut (and in English) when we want to express that something is happening to someone, or they are at the receiving end of a particular action.

active voice Mialiup Simiuni takujanga Mary sees Simiuni.
passive voice Simiuni takujaujuq. Simiuni is seen.

1. To make verbs in the passive voice in Inuktut, one adds the affix -jau-/-tau- right after the verb root.  -jau- is used after roots ending in vowels, and -tau- after roots ending in consonants.

ikaujuq- to help
ikajuqtaujuq He/she is being helped.
ikajuqtaujumavit?    Do you want some help (literally, 'do you want to be helped?')
ikajuqtaujumajunga. I'd like some help; Can you help me? (literally, 'I want to be helped.')

Some other examples:

qai+qu+jaatit =   qaiqujaatit She wants you to come; She has invited you
qai+qu+jau+jutit =   qaiqujaujutit You are invited.
ai+niaq+tara =   ainiaqtara I will pick her up.
ai+jau+juma+guvit aijaujumajunga I want to be picked up.

2. -jau-/-tau- is used to make verbs in the passive voice. -ujjaq- is a related affix used to make nouns in the passive voice:

uqaq + ujjaq = uqaujjaq someone who is spoken to

It is more likely that you will see these used in complete sentence:

aullaq + ujjaq = aullaujjaq someone who is taken out on the land
aullaq + ujjaq + u + jugut = aullaujjaujugut We are being taken out on the land.
aullaq + ujjaq + u + juma + gama =  aullaujjaujumagama    (because) I would like to be taken out on the land.
aput + ujjaq = apujjaq someone who has been snowed in
aput + ujjaq + u + jut = apujjaujut They are snowed in.
tinit + tuq = tinittuq the tide goes out; drops
tinit + ujjaq + u + juq = tinujjaujuq It has been beached at low tide.