Grammar » possession (1)

In English we have words that we put before nouns to indicate who they belong to:

my father our house your door

In Inuktitut, we add an affix to the end of the noun. The above would be translated:

ataataga illuvut matuit

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.

 

SINGULAR FORMS:

illuga my house
illuit
your house
illunga
his / her house
illuvuk our (2) house
illuvut
our (3+) house
illusi your (2+) house
illungat
their 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 =

jaikaga my jacket
aggak + it = aggait
your hand (talking to 1 person)
illiq + nga = illinga her bed
ataatatsiaq + vut = ataataatsiavut our grandfather
qimmiq + si = qimmisi
your dog (talking to more than 2)
allavvik + ngat = allavvingat their office

 

 

(ii) -ga (my) has a second form, -ra, that is used after any noun that ends in q:

qajaq + ga= qajara my kayak
taliq + ga = talira my arm
nuliaq + ga= nuliara my wife

 

 

(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 your shoulder
umiaq + it = umiat your boat
uasikuaq + it = uasikuat your vest

 


DUAL FORMS

paniikkak
my two daughters
paniikkik
your two daughters (talking to 1 person)
paningik
his or her two daughters
panivuk
our two daughters
panisik your two daughters (talking to more than 2)
paningik
their two daughters
  • An extra i is added 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 what you are speaking of.

PLURAL FORMS

ilakka
my friends
ilatit
your friends (talking to 1 person)
ilangit
his or her friends
ilavut
our friends
ilasi your friends (talking to more than 2)
ilangit
their friends
  • all plural possessive endings delete the last consonant of roots they are added to.
  • the endings for “her/his” and “their” are the same.

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

Ilaija's two CD's

Piita's dogs

 

In Inuktitut, these three sentences would be written this way:

Mialiup nunasiutinga

Ilaijaup qilliqtungik

Piitaup qimmingit

 

  • 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.
If -up is added to a root that ends in a consonant, it deletes the consonant:

Naullaq + up =

Naullaup qullinga

Naullaq's qulliq

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 =

qallunaap illuralaanga

the qallunaaq's cabin

 

-up works for more than just names. It can be added to any noun, as long as it is singular:

angutiup nasanga

the man's hat

najaup kamingik the sister's kamiks

inuup umiangit

the Inuk's boats