1 Tunngasugit

Dialogue: Welcome

Riita:
Tunngasugit.ᑐᙵᓱᒋᑦ.Welcome.
Taiviti:
Tunngasukpunga.ᑐᙵᓱᒃᐳᖓ. Response to 'Tunngasugit', literally "I feel welcome."
Riita:
Inuktituusuunguvit?ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑑᓲᖑᕕᑦ? Do you speak Inuktitut?
Taiviti:
iipaaluk.ᐄᐹᓗᒃ.  Yes, a little.
Riita:
Riitaujunga. Kinauvilli? ᕇᑕᐅᔪᖓ. ᑭᓇᐅᕕᑦ? I'm Riita. What about you, what's your name?
Taiviti:
Taivitiujunga.ᑕᐃᕕᑎᐅᔪᖓ. My name is Taiviti.
 

Vocabulary

tunngasugit
welcome
inuktituusuunguvit?
Inuktitut (Do you speak... ?)
ii
yes
mikittumik
little bit (a...)
kinauvit?
What's your name?
...ujunga/...ngujunga
My name is...
kinauva?
What is his / her name?
nanirmiutauvit?
Where are you from?
Aatuvaa
Ottawa
Iqalungmiutaujunga
I'm from Iqaluit.
Aatuvaamiutaujunga
I'm from Ottawa.
nanirmiutaviniuvit?
Where are you originally from?
Iqalungmiutaviniujunga
originally from Iqaluit (I am...)
Pangniqtuurmitaviniujunga
originally from Pangnirtung (I am...)
anijuq
leaves; goes out (he/she...)
takujuq
sees (he/she...)
aullaqtuq
departs (he/she...)
titiraqtuq
writes (he...)
nirijunga
eat, I...
nirijutit
eat, you...
nirijuq
eats, she/he...
nirijuguk
eat, we (2)...
nirijugut
eat, we (3+)...
nirijusik
eat, you (2)...
nirijusi
eat, you (3+)...
nirijuuk
eat, they (2)...
nirijut
eat, they (3+)...

Grammar

1 » The Basic Structure of Inuktut

In English, the basic unit of meaning is the word. Each word (generally) expresses a separate idea:

The dog sleeps under the tree

 

In Inuktitut, the basic units of meaning are roots and affixes.

Roots involve basic vocabulary and always appear at the beginning of words in Inuktitut. Here are some examples:
niri- aullaq- tupiq
to eat to depart; leave town tent

Affixes are attached to the end of roots and other affixes. They can never begin a word. Here are three simple affixes:

-tunga -tutit -tuq
I you she or he

 

Roots and affixes cannot be used on their own.  Instead words are built in Inuktitut by attaching one or more affixes to a root.  Remember that in most cases, the root is the base of the word and appears at the beginning.

If we add different affixes to the same root, we get different meanings:

aullaqtunga aullaqtutit aullaqtuq
I depart you depart she departs

 

And if we throw in other affixes, we can change the meaning again.  -lauq- is an affix that indicates that something happened in the past:

aullalauqtunga aullalauqtutit aullalauqtuq
I departed you departed he / she departed
In Inuktitut very long words can be put together using many affixes.  We end up with single words that would take an entire sentence to say in English:

mivvingmuariaqalaaqtunga  I’ll have to go to the airport.

 

2 » Subject of the Verb

 In English, we often use pronouns to tell us who we are talking about in a sentence:
I ate. Who are you? He left yesterday.

 

In Inuktitut, we indicate who we are talking about by using an affix that appears (usually) at the very end of the word:

takujunga I see

 

In the above word, taku- describes the action of seeing and the affix –junga describes who is seeing.
By using different affixes, we can talk about different people doing the same action:

nirijunga I eat
nirijutit you eat
nirijuq he / she eats
nirijuguk the two of us eat
nirijugut we (three or more) eat
nirijusik you two eat
nirijusi you (three or more) eat
nirijuuk the two of them eat
nirijut they (three or more) eat

The affixes highlighted above in blue can be added to any root that ends in a vowel.  Remember Inuktitut has three vowels i, u and a.

If the root ends in any other letter, we change the j that begins each of these affixes to t:

uqalimaaqtunga I read
siniktuq he sleeps