Grammar » 28 » Because

In English, when we want to give a reason for something, we add a clause to a sentence that usually begins with the word “because”:

We are leaving because we are tired.

In Inuktut the clause that is underlined above is usually represented in one word. This word has a special ending that lets us know who we are talking about: 

anijjaanngittunga niaqunngugama
I am not going out because I have a headache.


Here is a list of these endings:
niaqunngugama because I have a headache
niaqunngugavit because you (1) have a headache
niaqunngugami /niaqunngummat * because he / she has a headache
niaqunngugannuk because we (2) have headaches
niaqunngugatta because we (3+) have headaches
niaqunngugatsik because you (2) have headaches
niaqunngugatsi because you (3+) have headaches
niaqunngugami /niaqunngummatik* because they (2) have headaches
niaqunngugami /niaqunngummata* because they (3+) have headaches

Notice in the third person (he/she/it/they) that there are two options:

The endings -gami and -gamik can only be used when we are talking about the same person in a sentence:

Piita aullalaunngittuq qanimagami.
Peter didn’t travel because he (Peter) is sick.

If thre is a change in who you are speaking about in the sentence, the endings -mmat, -mmatik and -mmata must be used:

Piita aullalaunngittuq qiturnganga qanimammat.
Peter didn’t travel because his child is sick.

The first m in these endings changes to r after a verb root ending in q-

Qailaunngittuq qiturnganga haakilaurmat.
Peter didn’t come because his child was playing hockey.


All of the above endings can also be used to express the idea in English of 'when something happened...' :

Tikiqqaummata niriqqaujugut. When they arrived, we ate.
Aullalaugatta sinilaujut. When we depated, they were sleeping.



Adding these affixes to stems ending in -k :
  • Working with the endings above, the first letter of the endings that begin in g- changes to k-
  • The endings above that begin with m- do not change.  They delete the final -k of the stem:
nuvak-  to have a cold
nuvakkama because I have a cold
nuvakkannuk because we (2) have colds
nuvakkatta because we (3+) have colds
nuvakkavit because you (1) have a cold
nuvakkatsik because you (2) have colds
nuvakkatsi because you (3+) have colds
nuvammat because he / she has a cold
nuvammatik because they (2) have colds
nuvammata because they (3+) have colds


Adding these affixes to stems ending in -t :

  • The last letter of the root and the first letter of the affix both change to n-.
  • The endings that begin in m- are unchanged. They delete the final -t of the root :
tikit to arrive
tikinnama because I arrived
tikinnannuk because we (2) arrived
tikinnatta because we (3+) arrived
tikinnavik because you (1) arrived
tikinnatsik because you (2) arrived
tikinnatsi because you (3+) arrived
tikimmat because he / she arrived
tikimmatik because they (2) arrived
tikimmata  because they (3+) arrived


Adding these affixes to roots ending in -q :

The last consonant of the stem is deleted and the affix begins with r:
nuvak + lauq- to have had a cold
nuvalaurama because I had a cold
nuvalaurannuk because we (2) had colds
nuvalauratta because we (3+) had colds
nuvalauravit because you (1) had a cold
nuvalauratsik because you (2) had colds
nuvalauratsi because you (3+) had colds
nuvalaurmat because he/she had a cold
nuvalaurmatik because they (2) had colds
nuvalaurmata because they (3+) had colds