Grammar » 6 » Future Tense

The Qikiqtaaluk (Baffin) dialects of Inuktut are fairly precise in how they deal with tenses. Affixes are added to verbs that indicate that an event will happen in the immediate future, later the same day or farther in the future.

The Immediate Future

To talk about event that will happen later the same day, isert the affix -niaq- between the verb root and the ending:

suvit? What are you doing?
suniaqqit? What will you be doing?
nirijunga I am eating.
niriniaqtunga. I will be eating.

When -niaq- is added to a root that ends in q-, the q changes to r.

kaapituq + niaq + tunga =  
kaapiturniaqtunga. I will be drinking coffee.
When -niaq- is added to a root ending in t- , it changes the t to :
pisut + niaq + tuq =  
pisunniaqtuq He / she is going to walk.


In Iqaluit, -langa- is the affix that is most commonly used for an event in the immediate future.  -langa- can be attached directly to a root that ends in a vowel.  When attached to a root ending in a consonant, it deletes the final consonant:
ullumi aullalangajut They are going to depart today.


Events farther in the Future

-laaq- is an affix used for events that will be happening the next day or further into the future. Let’s compare the following pairs of words:

iqqanaijarniaqtunga I am going to work (later that day).
iqqanaijalaaqtunga I will be working (sometime in the future).
katimaniaqtugut We are going to have a meeting (later the same day).
katimalaaqtugut We will be having a meeting (tomorrow or farther in the future)
If -laaq- is added to a stem that ends in a consonant, it deletes the last consonant.
aullaq + laaq + tuq =  
aullalaaqtuq He / she will leave town.