In English, the basic unit of meaning is the word. Each word (generally) expresses a separate idea:
In Inuktut, the basic units of meaning are roots and affixes.
|aullaq-||to depart; leave town|
Affixes are attached to the end of roots and other affixes. They can never begin a word. Here are three simple affixes:
|-tuq||she / he / it|
Roots and affixes cannot be used on their own. Instead words are built in Inuktut by attaching one or more affixes to a root. Remember that in most cases, the root is the base of the word and appears at the beginning.
If we add different affixes to the same root, we get different meanings:
|aullaqtuq||He / she departs.|
And if we throw in other affixes, we can change the meaning again. -lauq- is an affix that indicates that something happened in the past:
|aullalauqtuq||He / she departed.|
qangatasuukkuvimmuuriaqalaaqtunga I’ll have to go to the airport.