Grammar » 26 » Possessions & Relations

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

my jacket our shoes your parka

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

jaikaga isigaujavut qulitaujait

The same possessive endings in Inuktut can be used for possessions or relations:

ataataga anaanavut irniit
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 Inuktut, though, different endings are used depending on whether the thing that is possessed is singular, dual or plural.



illuga my house
illuit your (1) house
illunga his / her house
illuvuk our (2) house
illuvut our (3+) house
illusi your (2+) house
illungat their house



(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
qimmiq + si = qimmisi
  your (2+) dog
allavvik + ngat = allavvingat
  the office


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

nasaq + ra= nasara
  my hat
qulitaujaq + ra = qulitaujara
  my parka

(iii) For the Inuktut version of 'your' just add -t (instead of -it) to roots that end in two vowels:

tui + it = tuit
  your shoulder
qiluaq + it = qiluat
  your belt


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.


pualut mittens (3+)
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.



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 Inuktut, 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 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


-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