Grammar » 3. To Be

In its simplest form, the verb “to be” is expressed with the affix –u.  It normally appears right before the subject ending:

Piita Piita + u + junga = Piitaujunga
Peter I am Peter; My name is Peter.

When –u is added to a root that ends in a k or a q, it deletes the final consonant:

inuk inuk + u + junga =    inuujunga inuujuq
Inuk I am Inuk. He/she is Inuk.


Remember: In Inuktut, you will almost never find more than two vowels in a row. So, if you delete the final consonant, and find that you already have two vowels, you have to use the affix -ngu- instead of -u-.  This makes pronunciation easier:

pinnguaq pinnguaq + u + juq = pinnguangujuq
toy; game It is a toy.


Adding –u to names coming from other languages like English, can sound quite awkward in Inuktut.  If such a name ends in a vowel, it usually isn’t a problem:


Aimi Aimi + u + junga = Amiujunga
Amy My name is Amy.


But if the name ends in a consonant, Inuktut speakers will usually change –u to –ngu, again to make pronunciation easier:

Charles + u + junga = Charles-ngujunga.
My name is Charles.