1 tujummitlanak

Dialogue: Welcome

Tujummingilanga.Tujummingilanga. Response to 'Tunngasugit', literally "I feel welcome."
Inuttitosonguven?Inuttitosonguven? Do you speak Inuktitut?
Â, ketakulutuinnak.Â, ketakulutuinnak. Yes, a little bit.
Bininnauvunga. kinauven? Bininnauvunga. kinauven? I'm Benigna. What's your name?
Lukasiuvunga.Lukasiuvunga. My name is Lukasi.


Welcome! (addressing 1 person)
inuttitut uKâlasonguven?
Inuktitut (Do you speak... ?)
little bit (a...)
What's your name?
What is his / her name?
Where are you from?
I'm from Iqaluit.
I'm from Ottawa.
eating, I am...
eating, you (1) are...
eating, she/he is...
eating, we (2) are...
eating, we (3+) are...
eating, you (2) are...
eating, you (3+) are...
eating, they (2) are...
eating, they are (3+)...
understand (I...)
sleeps (he/she...)
departs (he/she...)


1 » The Basic Structure of Inuktut


In Inuktut, the basic units of meaning are roots, affixes and grammatical endings.

Roots involve basic vocabulary and always appear at the beginning of words in Inuktut. Here are some examples:
nigi- to eat
aullak- to depart; leave town
tupik tent

Roots that describe nouns (people, places, animals or objects) sometimes appear on their own:

nuna land
inuk an Inuk; a person
natsik ringed seal

Generally, though, words are built in Inuktut by attaching affixes and endings to a root.  

Here are three simple noun endings:

-mi in / at a place
-mut to a place
-mit from a place

We can add these endings to a noun root to create a word:

sitjami at the shoreline 
sitjamut to the shoreline
sitjamit from the shoreline


Verb endings are attached to verb roots that describe actions.  Here are three simple verb endings:

-tunga I
-tutit you
-tuk she / he / it


If we add different endings to the same root, we get different meanings:

aullavunga I depart.
aullavutit You depart.
aullajuk He / she departs.


Affixes are pieces of words that appear between the root and the ending.  They can never begin a word.  Affixes add more information about the noun or verb that is described by the root.

For example -lauk- is a verb affix that indicates that an action happened in the past:

aullalaukKunga I departed.
aullalaukKutit You departed.
aullalauttuk He / she departed.


In Inuktut, it is possible to build up very long words by adding a series of affixes between the root and the ending.  We can end up with single words that would take an entire sentence to say in English:

mipvik + liak + giaKak + lâk + tunga = mipviliagiaKalâttunga I’ll have to go to the airport.


2 » I am...

To introduce yourself, you can add the affix -u- to the end of your name followed by the verb ending -vunga:

Peta Peter
Peta + u + vunga = Piitauvunga I am Peter; My name is Peter.

The affix -u- means to be.  When it is added to a root that ends in a -k or a -q, it deletes the final consonant. We can use a different verb ending -juk to talk about he / she or it:

tupik + u + juk =    tupiujuk It is a tent.

If the last vowel sound before the consonant is a u, the verb –u merges with thtat sound to become a long u . In Nunatsiavummiutitut long u is written as o.

inuk + u + vunga =    inovunga I am Inuk.

Adding –u to names coming from other languages like English, can sound quite awkward in Inuktut.  If such a name ends in a vowel, it usually isn’t a problem:

Susi Susie.
Susi + u + vunga = Susiuvunga My name is Susie.


But if the name ends in a consonant, Nunatsiavummiutitut speakers will often add an -i- sound before -u- to make pronunciation easier:

Jobiuvunga. My name is Job.

To ask someone their name, you start with the root kina, meaning who?  You then add the affix -u- to the end of kina, followed by the question ending -ven?:

kina + u + ven? Susie.
kinauven? Who are you?


3 » Where are you from?

The affix -miuk- means, someone who comes from the place described by the root of the word:

Nunaingumiuk   someone from Nain
KipukKamiuk   someone from Postville
kikiammiuk   someone from Rigolet
Apvitommiuk   someone from Hopedale
Maggovimmiuk   someone from Makkovik

As we see in the above examples, -miuk can appear at the end of a word. But we can also build onto it to talk about different people. We do this by adding the verb -ngu- to the the end of -miuk- and follow it with a verb ending:

kikiammiunguvunga  I am from Rigolet.
Maggovimmiunguvunga I am from Makkovik.

We can easily change the verb ending to talk about different people:

kikiammiunguvuguk  We (2) are from Rigolet.
Maggovimmiunguvusi You (3+) are from Makkovik.


We can also add -miuk- to the question root nani- (meaning where?) to create a question:

nani + miuk + ngu + ven? = nanimiunguven?
  Where are you from?



4 » Simple Verb Endings

Verb roots in Inuktut describe actions or states of being. The verb ending tells us who is performing the action.

I see.


In the above word, taku- describes the action of seeing and the verb ending –vunga describes who is seeing.
By using different verb endings we can talk about different people doing the same action:

nigivunga I am eating.
nigivutit You are eating.
nigivuk / nigijuk  He / she is eating.
nigivuguk The two of us are eating.
nigivugut We (3+) are eating.
nigivutik The two of you are eating.
nigivusi You (3+) are eating.
nigivok / nigijok  The two of them are eating.
nigivut / nigijut They (3+) are eating.