Grammar » 5. Personal 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 personal pronouns.

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

We'll start with the simplest personal pronouns:

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

It is important to remember that Inuktut verbs always indicate who is doing the action through the verb ending: 

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


Because the verb ending already tells us who is doing an action, personal pronouns 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 :

ivvit + li = ivvilli? What about you (1)?
uvanga + li = uvangali? What about me?

 

-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.

uirngaqtunga I am sleepy.
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.