Grammar » possession (advanced)

This grammar note is available in the South Qikiqtaaluk dialect only.

The idea of possession, in any language, involves the relationship between people or things. Consider the relationships in each of the sentences below :

The boat’s driver
The man’s car
His aunt’s mother.
Linda’s counsin’s hat.

In the Kiap Ukua lesson, we learned how to deal with the first two sentences above. The last two sentences are a little more complicated, because they involve two sets of relationships :

In sentence 3:   the mother belongs to the aunt, and the aunt belongs to him.
In sentence 4:   the hat belongs to the cousin and the cousin belongs to Linda.

Inuktitut has special affixes to deal with these multiple possessions within a single sentence:

anaanna mother
anaanaga my mother 
anaanama my mother’s

Whereas the affix -ga refers only to something belonging to me « my mother », the affix -ma adds another layer by pointing to something that belongs to my mother.

illu house
illunga her house
anaanama illunga my mother's house

Note that when you use the affix -ma, it indicates that there are two levels of possession in the same sentence. The second level is marked with another possessive affix, in this case -nga. Here's another example:

ataata my father
ataatama my father's
umiaq boat
umianga his boat
ataatama umianga my father's boat
When -ma is added to a root ending in a Q, it changes the final Q to R:
irniq son
irnirma my son's
nuliaq wife
nulianga his wife
irnirma nulianga my son's wife


When –ma is added to a noun ending in K, it changes the final K to M:

panik daughter
panimma my daughter's
qamutaujaq snowmobile
qamutaujanga her snowmobile
panimma qamutaujanga my daughter's snowmobile
Now, let's introduce the affixes used with other people
ataata father
ataatait your father
ataatavit your father's
ataatavit illunga your father's house

-vit can be added to nouns ending in vowels. For nouns that end in consonants, use -pit instead:

irniq son
irniqpit your son's
irniqpit illunga your son's house


And, finally...

anik brother of a female
aninga her brother
aningata her brother's
aningata umianga her brother's boat

Notice that when -ngata is added to nouns ending in a consonant, it deletes the final consonant.