In English we have words that we put before nouns to indicate who they belong to:
|my jacket||your parka|
In Inuktut, we add an affix to the end of the noun. The above would be translated:
The same endings can be used for possessions or relations:
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 Inuktut, though, different endings are used depending on whether the thing that is possessed is singular, dual or plural. In this lesson we will look at the singular endings. For the dual and plural possessive endings, click here.
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:
|qimmisi||your (2+) dog|
(ii) -ga (my) has a second form, -ra, that is used after any noun that ends in -q:
(iii) For the Inuktut version of 'your' just add -t (instead of -it) to roots that end in two vowels:
TWO POSSESSIONS OR RELATIONS
|nukaak||two younger brothers of a boy or younger sisters of a girl|
|nukaakkak||my two younger siblings (of the same sex)|
|nukaakkik||your (1) two younger siblings (of the same sex)|
|nukaangik||his or her two two younger siblings (of the same sex)|
|nukaavuk||our two younger siblings (of the same sex)|
|nukaasik||your (2+) two younger siblings (of the same sex)|
|nukaangik||their two younger siblings (of the same sex)|
- The last vowel sound of the root is lengthened before the endings -kkak and -kkik.
- All dual endings delete the last consonant sound of the root to which they are added.
- The endings for “his / her” and “their” are the same. Context makes it clear who you are speaking of.
3+ POSSESSIONS OR RELATIONS
|irnikka||my sons (3+)|
|irnitit||your (1) sons (3+)|
|irningit||his or her sons (3+)|
|irnivut||our sons (3+)|
|irnisi||your (2) sons (3+)|
|irningit||their sons (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:
|Mary's car||Piita's dog|
In Inuktut, these three sentences would be written this way:
|Mialiup nunasiutinga||Piitaup qimminga|
- 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; -gik if it is dual; and -ngit if it is plural.
|Naullaq + up =|
|Naullaup qullinga||Naullaq's qulliq|
|Naullaup pualogik||Naullaq’s mittens (2)|
|Naullaup Kimingit||Naullaq’s dogs (3+)|
Remember that in Inuktut 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 =|
|qallunaap illuralaanga||the qallunaaq's cabin|
Note that -up is only used when the possessor is singular. If the possessor of an object or a relation is dual or plural, the ending -up is dropped:
|annaup akulinga||the woman's amauti|
|annâk nasâgik||the two women’s hats|
|annait inningit||the women’s (3+) sons|