Grammar » -jau- (affix)

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.  It is used when we don’t know who is doing a particular action or if we want to be vague:

Mialiup Simiuni takujanga. 

Mary sees Simiuni. (active voice: Mary sees.)

Simiuni takujaujuq. Simiuni is seen. (passive voice: we don’t know who sees)
Piita atulauqtanga. Piita used it.
atuqtaulauqtuq It was used by someone.

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:

qaiqujaatit She wants you to come; She has invited you
qaiqujaujutit You are invited.
ainiaqtara I will pick her up.
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- to say something
uqaujjaq someone who is spoken to

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

aullaujjaq someone who is taken out on the land
aullaujjaujugut We are being taken out on the land.
aullaujjaujumagama    (because) I would like to be taken out on the land.
apujjaq someone who has been snowed in
apujjaujut They are snowed in.
tinittuq the tide goes out; drops
tinujjaujuq It has been beached at low tide.