Grammar » questions in the negative (aren't you...?)

In Inuktitut, as in English, we can ask questions in the negative:

nirinngilatit?
Aren’t you eating?

  
Negative questions have their own special endings.  Here is a partial list of these affixes:

qai- to come
qainngilanga
Am I not coming?
qainngilatit?Are you not coming?
qainngilaq?Is he not coming?
qainngilaguk?Are the two of us not coming?
qainngilasik? Are the two of you not coming?
qainngilaak?Are the two of them not coming?
qainngilagut? Are we (3+) not coming?
qainngilasi? Are you (3+) not coming?
qainngilat?
Are they (3+) not coming?

 

Watch out for the fact that Inuktitut speakers answer these negative questions in a way that is opposite to what is done in English.

If you answer no, to a negative question in Inuktiut you are disagreeing with what the person has implied with their question.  If you answer yes, you are confirming what they have asked.

If someone, for example asks:

ullumi iqqanaijanngilatit? Aren't you working today.

an Inuktitut speaker would answer with yes if he/she is not working:

 ii, ullumi iqqanaijanngittunga.

 and he/she would answer with no if he/she is in fact working:

 aagga, iqqanaijaqtunga.

  In English we would do the opposite. We would say  “no, I am not working today” or “yes, I am working today”.