Grammar » 32 » If and when...

Inuktut has a series of endings to talk about events that have not yet happened:

Uqaalaguvit, qailangajunga.
if / when you call, I will come.

 

Depending on the context, these endings can be translated in English as "when something happens..." or "if something happens..."

 

You will notice that these endings are very similar to those used to express the idea of “because”:

uqaala - to call someone on the phone

 

uqaalaguma if/when I call
uqaalaguvit if/when you call
uqaalaguni / uqaalappat * if/when he/she calls
uqaalagunnuk if/when the two of us call
uqaalagutta if/when we (3+) call
uqaalagutsik if/when two of you call
uqaalagutsi  if/when you (3+) call
uqaalagutik / uqaalappatik * if/when they (2) call
uqaalagutik / uqaalappata * if/when they (3+) call

* -guni, and -gutik can only be used when the subject of the verb they are attached to is the same person who is the subject of the verb in the main sentence:

Qaiguni, mumiriarunnarniaqtuq.
If she comes, she will be able to go dancing.

This sentence only works if the person who is coming is the same person who will be able to go dancing.

If, on the other hand, we wanted to say:

If Ilisapi comes, Ani will be able to go dancing

we would have to say:

Ilisapii qaippat, Ani mumiriarunnarniaqtuq.

 

Adding these affixes to roots ending in -q:
The basic endings that begin with g- change to r-. The last consonant of the root is deleted:

Natsiruvit, niritsiarniaqtugut. If you get a seal, we will eat well.
Quvianalaarmijualuk ammuumajjialirutta. It will be a lot of fun if/when we go clam digging.

The basic endings that begin with p- change to q-.

Aniniaqtunga 11-miinngaaliqqat. I will go out after 11.
Pijariiqqata, qailangajut. If/when they are finished, they will come.

Adding these affixes to roots ending in -t:
The basic endings that begin with g- change to k-. The last consonant of the root also changes to -k:

 Tikikkuma niuvirvimmuurniaqtunga.
 If/when I arrive, I will go to the store.

The basic endings that begin with -p are unchanged.  They delete the last consonant of the root:

Aullalaaqtugut ulippat.
We will depart when the tide is high.