Grammar » 6 » Pronouns

In English, a verb must always be accompanied by a word to indicate who is doing the action:

I eat. She sleeps. They depart.

The highlighted words above are called pronouns.

Inuktut has pronouns although they aren't used as much as in English for reasons that will be explained below.

We'll start with the simplest pronouns:

uvanga I
uvaguk we; us (2)
uvagut we; us (3+)
ivvit you (1) 
ilitsik you (2)
ilitsi you (3+)
una this person here

It is important to remember that Inuktut verbs always indicate who is doing the action through the verb ending so pronouns often aren’t needed: 

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

Where 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 endings : -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 :

ivvit + li = ivvilli? What about you (1)?
uvanga + li = uvangali? What about me?
uva + li = unali? * What about him / her?

This last pronoun can only be used when the person you are referring to is very close by.

-lu is an ending meaning « and » or « too »:

uirngaqtunga I am sleepy.
uvangalu Me, too.

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

ilitsik + li = ilitsilli What about you two?
ivvit + lu = ivvillu You (1), as well.