Grammar » personal pronouns

As we saw in another grammar note, verbs in Inuktut have affixes tacked onto the end that tells us who is doing a particular action :

nirijunga I eat. 
sinktuq She sleeps.
aullaqtut They depart. 

Inuktut does have words that mean I, you, he, we, etc. In English we call these personal pronouns.

uvanga I
uvaguk we; us (2)
uvagut we; us (3+)
ivvit you (1 person) 
ilitsik you (2)
ilitsi you (3+)
una* he/she/it
ukua* they (2); the two of them
ukua* they (3+)

*The last three pronouns we’ve indicated are just some of the many pronouns that Inuktitut uses to talk about a third person. The ones here can only be used when a person or object is very close by


Remember that Inuktut verbs always indicate through the verb ending who is doing the action :
 nirijunga  aullaqtusik  siniktut

Because the verb ending already tells us who is doing an action, these words are redundant and aren’t normally used.

Where personal pronouns are used is when :

  • you are talking about a person or an object without a verb
  • you are adding emphasis:
Qanuinngittunga.  ivvilli? I am fine, what about you?
uvanga? (who) me?
uvangalu qanuinngimmijunga. I (too) am fine.


Notice above the use of two little affixes : -li and –lu that can be tacked on to the end of the pronouns.

-li is used in conversation when you want to change the person or object you are talking about :

ilitsi + li = ilistili? What about you (3+)?
una + li = unali? What about him?


-lu is an affix meaning « and ».  It is added to a personal pronoun when you want to re-state something that has already been said.

Piita : uirngaqtunga I am sleepy.
Ani : uvangalu, uirngarmijunga. I, too, am sleepy.

When –li and –lu  are added to  personal pronouns ending in a consonant, they change the final consonants to l:

ilitsik + li = ilitsilli What about you (2)?
ivvit + lu = ivvillu you, as well.