20 Mikiliriit, angiliriit

Dialogue: Shorter and Taller

Anikuluuk uvannit takiniqsaujutit.ᐊᓂᑯᓘᒃ, ᐅᕙᓐᓂᑦ ᑕᑭᓂᖅᓴᐅᔪᑎᑦ.Hey Anikuluuk (little brother) you’re taller than me.
Upinnarani takijuujunga ammalu naittuujutit.ᐅᐱᓐᓇᕋᓂ ᑕᑭᔫᔪᖓ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓇᐃᑦᑑᔪᑎᑦ. That's not surprising, I am tall and you are short.
Kinali ilinnit takiniqsauva?ᑭᓇᓕ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᑦ ᑕᑭᓂᖅᓴᐅᕙ? Who is taller than you then?
Viitani uvannit takiniqsaq.ᕖᑕᓂ ᐅᕙᓐᓂᑦ ᑕᑭᓂᖅᓴᖅ.Viitani is taller than me.
Kinalu takilaanguva ilattinni?ᑭᓇᓗ ᑕᑭᓛᖑᕙ ᐃᓚᑦᑎᓐᓂ? So, who is the tallest in the family?
Paaturi takilaaq ilattinni.ᐹᑐᕆ ᑕᑭᓛᖅ ᐃᓚᑦᑎᓐᓂPaaturi is the tallest in the family.
Maika uvannit nainniqsaq. ᒪᐃᑲ ᐅᕙᓐᓂᑦ ᓇᐃᓐᓂᖅᓴᖅ. Maika is shorter than me.
Ammattauq Viula nainniqpaaq ilissinnit. ᐊᒻᒪᑦᑕᐅᖅ, ᕕᐅᓚ ᓇᐃᓐᓂᖅᐹᖅ. And Viula is the shortest of you three.
iilaak.ᐄᓛᒃ. Yes, that's right.


small (it is...)
big (it is...)
shorter (it's...)
taller (he/she/it is...)
wide (it is...)
narrow (it is...)
thick (it is...)
thin (it is...)
crooked; it is not straight
straight (it is...)
high (it is...)
low (it is...)
shallow (it is...)
deep (it is...)
dark (it is...)
good (it is...)
heavy (it is...)
light (it is not heavy)


38 » Describing People & Things

Inuktut has different ways to describe people or things.  The first is through words like these:
takijuq (someone/something) tall; he/she/it is tall
uqumaittuq (something) heavy; it is heavy
akitujuq (something) expensive; it is expensive
naittuq (someone/something) short;  he/she/it is short
piujuq (something) good; it is good

At first glance, these words behave like verbs. We can change the ending to dual or plural and get:

takijuuk They (2) are tall.
takijut They (3+) are tall.
uqumaittuuk They (2) are heavy.
uqumaittut They (3+) are heavy.

These descriptive words must reflect the number of the word that they describe:

Qarasaujaq akitujuq. The computer is expensive.
Qarasaujaak akitujuuk. The two computers are expensive.
Qarasaujait akitujut. The computers (3+) are expensive.

in other ways these descriptive words behave like nouns. You can, for example add noun endings to the words above:

piujumik a good one
itijummi in the deep one
naittumut to the short one

When these words describe a person or thing ending in -mik, they also have to take -mik:

qamutaujaq uqumaittuq  The snowmobile is heavy.
qamutaujarmik uqumaittumik a heavy snowmobile


When we use descriptive words to talk about you or me, we also have to add the verb affix -u- which is only used after noun roots:

takijuq + u + jutit =  
takijuujutit You are tall.
naittuq + u + junga =  
naittuujunga I am short.


Keep in mind that in many instances, Inuktut speakers use affixes rather than separate words to describe things:
illuqpak the big house
nunasiutiqpak the big car
illuralaaq the small house; the cabin
nunasiutiralaaq the small car
angutikutaaq the tall man
angutikallak the short man
silattiavak good weather
inuttiavak a good person
inuttiavaujutit You are a good person.

39 » Comparing People and Things

Qualities and characteristics of people and things can be compared by using the roots of the describing words followed by the endings -niqsaq- (it is more... than) or -niqpaaq- / -laaq- (it is the most...):

takijuq It is tall; the tall one
takiniqsaq It is taller; the taller one
takiniqpaaq /takilaaq the tallest one
angijuq It is big; the big one
anginiqsaq It is bigger; the bigger one
anginiqpaaq angilaaq the biggest one


When -niqsaq and -niqpaaq are added to a stem ending in -t, it changes the final t to n; -laaq deletes the preceeding  consonant sound:
naittuq It is short; the short one
nainniqsaq It is shorter; the shorter one
nainniqpaaq the shortest one
nailaaq the shortest one


When talking about you, me or we, the endings above are followed by -u- / -ngu- (to be) and then a verb ending:
taki + niqsaq + u + va?  
takiniqsauva? Is he/she/it taller?
taki + laaq + ngu + jutit =  
takilaangujutit You are the tallest.
To make a comparison, we then tack on the affix -mit / -nit to the person or thing to which a comparison is being made:
Ilisapimit takiniqsaujunga. I am taller than Ilisapi.
Amaruq qimmirmit anginiqsaq. The wolf is bigger than the dog.


Keep in mind that when using personal pronouns to make comparisons, they don't follow a regular pattern:
uvanga me
uvannit than me
Uvannit takiniqsaujutit. You are taller than me.
ivvit you
ilinnit than you
Kinali ilinnit takiniqsauva? And who is taller than you?
ilitsik you (2)
ilitsinnit than the two of you
Ilitsinnit nainniqsaujunga. I am shorter than the two of you.
ilitsi you (3+)
ilitsinnit than you (3+)

40 » Simultaneous Actions

Inuktut has a set of verb endings to join an event with another event happening at the same time.

Pisulauqtunga nirillunga. I walked as I ate.
Uqalimaaqtuni sinililauqtuq While he was reading, he fell asleep.

Here is a complete list of these verb endings:

nirillunga while I was eating...
nirillutit while you were eating ...
nirilluni        while he was eating ...
nirillunuk  while the two of us were eating ...
nirilluta while we (3+) were eating ...
nirillusik while the two of you were eating...
nirillusi while you (3+) were eating ...
nirillutik while the two of them were eating ...
nirillutik while they (3+) were eating ...

The affixes above are used with verbs that end in a vowel.  When working with a verb that ends in a consonant, the beginning of the affix changes from ll to t:

uqaq- to speak
uqaqtunga while I was speaking ...
uqaqtutit    while you were speaking ...
uqaqtuni while he was speaking ...
uqaqtunuk  while the two of us were speaking ...
uqaqtuta while we (3+) were speaking ...
uqaqtusi while you (3+) were speaking ...
uqaqtutik While the two of them were speaking ...
uqaqtutik    While they (3+) were speaking ...


Important: All of the above endings are used when the two actions that appear in a sentence are performed by the same person.

Pisuttuni tikiqqaujuq He arrived walking.
Anillunga paallaqqaujunga As I was going out, I fell down.

If we want to describe two actions happening at the same time that were performed by different people we add ti- before the ending:

Uqaalatillutit siniliqqaujut While you were speaking, they fell asleep.
Aullasimatilluta sulauqqit? When we were away, what did you do?

In both of the above sentences, the two verbs are being performed by different people.

The -ti- ending can be directly added to a root ending in a verb or a consonant without affecting the spelling.

There is one form of this verb ending that is irregular. 

-luni  becomes -tillugu  
Niritillugu miqsulauqtuq. While he ate she sewed.

Here is a complete set of the endings beginning with ti-

aullasimatillunga while I was away...(you/he/she/they)...
aullasimatillutit while you were eating ...(I/he/she/they)...
aullasimatillugu        while he was eating ...(I/you/we/they)...
aullasimatillunuk  while the two of us were eating ...(you/he/she/they)...
aullasimatilluta while we (3+) were eating ...(you/he/she/they)...
aullasimatillusik while the two of you were eating...(I/he/she/they)...
aullasimatillusi while you (3+) were eating ...(I/he/she/they)...
aullasimatillutik while the two of them were eating ...(I/you/he/she)...
aullasimatillutik while they (3+) were eating ...(I/you/he/she)...