In English we have words that we put before nouns to indicate who they belong to:
|my jacket||our shoes||your parka|
In Inuktitut, we add an affix to the end of the noun. The above would be translated:
The same possessive endings in Inuktut can be used for possessions or relations:
|my father||our mother||your son|
In English the words that indicate possession: my, your, our, etc. are fairly straightforward. There is only one form that we use before any noun, be it singular or plural:
|my car||my cars|
In Inuktitut, though, different endings are used depending on whether the thing that is possessed is singular, dual or plural.
ONE POSSESSION OR RELATION
|illuit||your (1) house|
|illunga||his / her house|
|illuvuk||our (2) house|
|illuvut||our (3+) house|
|illusi||your (2+) house|
SOME TRICKIER DETAILS...
(i) For nouns that end in vowels, you just add the ending.
If these endings are added to a noun that ends in a consonant, the last consonant is deleted:
jaikak + ga =
|qimmiq + si =||qimmisi|
|your (2+) dog|
|allavvik + ngat =||allavvingat|
(ii) -ga (my) has a second form, -ra, that is used after any noun that ends in q:
|nasaq + ra=||nasara|
|qulitaujaq + ra =||qulitaujara|
(iii) For the Inuktitut version of 'your' just add t (instead of -it) to roots that end in two vowels, or in a consonant that is preceded by two vowels:
|tui + it =||tuit|
|qiluaq + it =||qiluat|
TWO POSSESSIONS OR RELATIONS
|kamiik||two skin boots|
|kamiikkak||my two skin boots|
|kamiikkik||your (1) two skin boots|
|kamiingik||his or her two skin boots|
|kamivuk||our two skin boots|
|kamisik||your (2+) two skin boots|
|kamingik||their two skin boots|
- The last vowel sound in the root is lengthened before -kkak and -kkik to make pronunciation easier.
- All dual endings delete the last consonant
- The endings for “his / her” and “their” are the same. Context makes it clear who you are speaking of.
3+ POSSESSIONS OR RELATIONS
|pualukka||my mittens (3+)|
|pualutit||your (1) mittens (3+)|
|pualungit||his or her mittens (3+)|
|pualuvut||our mittens (3+)|
|pualusi||your mittens (3+)|
|pualungit||their mittens (3+)|
- All plural possessive endings delete the last consonant of roots they are added to.
- The endings for “her/his” and “their” are the same. Context makes it clear who you are speaking of.
NAMING THE PERSON WHO POSSESSES SOMETHING
In English, when we want to name a person that something belongs to, we add an apostrophe + s to the person's name, followed by the object:
Ilaija's two CD's
In Inuktitut, these three sentences would be written this way:
- Note that the affix -up is attached to the possessor's name, much like apostrophe + s is used in English.
- the affix -nga is added to the person or thing that is possessed if it is singular; -ngik if it is dual; and -ngit if it is plural.
Naullaq + up =
Remember that in Inuktitut you normally don't find more than two vowels in a row. So, if you delete the final consonant and the root ends in two vowels, just add p instead of -up:
qallunaaq + up =
|the qallunaaq's cabin|
-up works for more than just names. It can be added to any noun, as long as it is singular:
|the man's hat|
|the sister's kamiks|
|the Inuk's boats|