Grammar » 3 » To Be

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

Piita Peter
Piita + u + junga = Piitaujunga 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 + u + junga =    inuujunga I am Inuk.
inuujuq 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 toy; game
pinnguaq + u + juq = pinnguangujuq 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:


Susi Susie.
Susi + u + junga = Susiujunga My name is Susie.


But if the name ends in a consonant, -ngu- is used instead of-u- to make pronunciation easier:

Charlesngujunga My name is Charles.
Stewartngujunga My name is Stewart.