Grammar » 28 » Because / when endings

In English, when we want to give a reason for something, we add a clause to a sentence that usually begins with the word “because”:

We are leaving because we are tired.

In Inuktut the clause that is underlined above is usually represented in one word. This word has a special ending that lets us know who we are talking about: 

anijjaanngittunga niaqunngugama
I am not going out because I have a headache.


Here is a list of these endings:
singular verb endings  
niaqunngugama because I have a headache
niaqunngugavit because you (1) have a headache
niaqunngugami /niaqunngummat * because he / she has a headache
dual verb endings  
niaqunngugannuk because we (2) have headaches
niaqunngugatsik because you (2) have headaches
niaqunngugamik /niaqunngummatik* because they (2) have headaches
plural verb endings  
niaqunngugatta because we (3+) have headaches
niaqunngugatsi because you (3+) have headaches
niaqunngugamik /niaqunngummata* because they (3+) have headaches

Notice in the third person (he/she/it/they) that there are two options:

The endings -gami and -gamik can only be used if the two verbs in the sentence involve the same person:

Piita aullalaunngittuq qanimagami.
Peter didn’t travel because he (Peter) is sick.

If thre is a change in who you are speaking about in the sentence, the endings -mmat, -mmatik and -mmata must be used:

Piita aullalaunngittuq qiturnganga qanimammat.
Peter didn’t travel because his child is sick.


All of the above endings can also be used to express the idea in English of 'when something happened...’ (in the past):

Tikiqqaummata niriqqaujugut. When they arrived, we ate.
Aullalauratta sinilauqtut. When we depated, they were sleeping.


Adding these endings to stems ending in -k :
  • Working with the endings above, the first letter of the endings that begin in g- changes to k-
  • The endings above that begin with m- do not change.  They delete the final -k of the stem:
nuvak-  to have a cold
nuvakkama because / when I have a cold
nuvakkavit because / when you (1) have a cold
nuvakkami / nuvammat because / when he / she has a cold
nuvakkannuk because / when we (2) have colds
nuvakkatsik because / when you (2) have colds
nuvakkamik / nuvammatik because / when they (2) have colds
nuvakkatta because / when we (3+) have colds
nuvakkatsi because / when you (3+) have colds
nuvakkamik / nuvammata because / when they (3+) have colds


Adding these verb endings to stems ending in -t :

  • The last letter of the root and the first letter of the affix both change to n-.
  • The endings that begin in m- are unchanged. They delete the final -t of the root :
tikit to arrive
tikikkama because / when I arrived
tikikkavit because / when you  (1) arrived
tikikkami / tikimmat  because / when he / she arrived
tikikkannuk because / when we (2) arrived
tikikkatsik because / when you (2) arrived
tikikkatik / tikimmatik because they (2) arrived
tikikkatta because we (3+) arrived
tikikkatsi because / when you (3+) arrived
tikikkamik / tikimmata  because they (3+) arrived


Adding these verb endings to roots ending in -q :

The last consonant of the stem is deleted and the affix begins with r:
nuvak + lauq- to have had a cold
nuvalaurama because / when I had a cold
nuvalauravit because / when you (1) had a cold
nuvalaurami / nuvalaurmat because / when he/she had a cold
nuvalaurannuk because / when we (2) had colds
nuvalauratsik because / when you (2) had colds
nuvalauramik / nuvalaurmatik because / when you (2) had colds
nuvalauratta because we (3+) had colds
nuvalauratsi because / when they (3+) had colds
nuvalauramik / nuvalaurmata because / when they (3+) had colds