Grammar » 42 » Describing People & Things

Inuktut has different ways to describe people or things.  The first is through words like these:
takijuq (someone/something) tall
uqumaittuq (someone/something) heavy
akitujuq (something) expensive
akikittuq (something) inexpensive
piujuq (someone/something) good

In some ways these words behave like verbs. Depending on the context they could be translated like this:

takijuq He/she is tall.
angijuq He/she is big.
akitujuq It is expensive.
akikittuq It is cheap.
piujuq It is good.

In Inuktut, these descriptive words must reflect the number and grammar of the word that they describe. You’ll notice that many descriptive words end with the –juq ending in the singular. This ending changes if you are describing an object that is in the dual or the plural:

Qarasaujaq akitujuq. The computer is expensive.
Qarasaujaak akitujuuk. The two computers are expensive.
Qarasaujait akitujut. The computers (3+) are expensive.

Some of the above words could be used to describe you or me, but then we would need to add the verb -u- plus the appropriate subject ending:

takijuq + u + jutit = takijuujutit
  You are tall.
takijuq + u + junga = takijuujunga
  I am tall.


When these words describe a person or thing ending in -mik, they also have to take -mik:

 qamutaujaq uqumaittuq  qamutaujarmik uqumaittumik
The snowmobile is heavy. a heavy snowmobile

Note that when using -mik with descriptive words (including colours), the final consonant of the descriptive word is normally deleted, rather than switched to r or another consonant.

 umiaq + mik = umiarmik  a boat
 aupaqtuq + mik = aupaqtumik  red
 umiarmik aupaqtumik  a red boat
Also, keep in mind that Inuktut speakers use many affixes that are attached directly to the nouns that they describe:
illuqpak the big house
nunasiutiqpak the big car
illuralaaq the small house; the cabin
nunasiutiralaaq the small car
angutikutaaq the tall man
angutikallak the short man
silattiavak good weather
inuttiavak a good person
inuttiavaujutit You are a good person.