In Inuktitut, as in English, we often put two separate actions together in a sentence:
|I walked. I ate.||I ate as I walked (or while I was walking).|
|He was reading. He fell asleep.||While he was reading, he fell asleep.|
In English, we put two actions together by using a conjunction (as, while, when, etc.) before one of the actions.
In Inuktitut, instead of using a conjunction, we use a different verb ending. These verb endings can be used...
... to indicate an action that is happening at the same time as another:
|Pisuqqaujunga nirillunga||I walked as I ate (earlier in the day).|
...or they can be used to describe an action that was underway, when another action suddenly happened:
| Uqalimaaqtuni sinililauqtuq
||While he was reading, he fell asleep.|
|nirillunga|| as I was eating
|nirillutit|| as you were eating
|nirilluni|| as he was eating
||as the two of us were eating|
||as we (3+) were eating|
||as the two of you were eating|
||as you (3+) were eating|
||as the two of them were eating|
||as they (3+) were eating|
Note that the same affix –llutik is used for a variety of circumstances. In conversation, it will be clear who is being spoken about.
|uqaqtunga||while I was speaking|
||while he was speaking|
||while you (3+) were speaking|
|uqaqtutik||While the two of them were speaking|
Note that several of these endings are the same as those used for simple statements:
||while you were reading...|
Again in conversation, it will be clear which meaning is appropriate.
The endings above are used in sentences where both actions are performed by the same person:
|Pisuktuni tikittuq||He arrived walking (or He arrived on foot.)|
| Isiqtutik ijukkalauqtut
||As they were coming in, they fell.|
If the two actions in a sentence are being performed by different people, we add ti- before the conjunctive ending:
| Anniaqtillunga iqqanaijalaunngittuq.
||When I was sick, she didn’t work.|
| Uqaqtillutit sinilauqtut.
||While you were speaking they fell asleep.|
| Aullaqsimatilluta sulauqqit?
||When we were away, what did you do?|
The -ti ending can be directly added to a root ending in a verb or a consonant without affecting the spelling.
There is one form of this verb ending that is irregular:
-luni becomes -tillugu
| tuttuliaqtillugu miqsulauqtuq
||While he was caribou hunting, she sewed.|
The –tillugu ending is especially useful for describing what the weather was doing when something else happened:
| Silaluttillugu aullalauqtunga.
||It was raining when I departed.|
| Piqsiqtillugu tikittugut.
||We arrived in a blizzard (or, while it was blizzarding)|