Grammar » to be

THE VERB '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 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 Inuk
inuk + u + junga =    inuujunga    I am Inuk.
inuujuq He is alive.

 

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 toys; someone's playing with it.

               
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 Amy
Aimi + u + junga = Amiujunga 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.