Grammar » 49 » Above, beside, underneath...

Let’s start with this sentence:

Piita illuup sanianiittuq.
Piita is beside the house.

This is a complex structure, but not a difficult one. Let’s break it down:

1. There is the subject of the sentence. In this case it is Piita. Nothing special happens to the subject. We can change the subject and have a very similar sentence:

Qimmiq illuup sanianiittuq.
The dog is beside the house.

2. There is the object that the subject is positioned around. In our sentence, it is illu or house. If this object is singular, it takes the ending –up. Remember that –up deletes final consonants:

qajaq + up = Piita qajaup sanianiittuq.
  Piita is beside the kayak.

3. There is the element that tells us where the subject is located:

Piita illuup sanianiittuq.

sania litterally means, 'it's side', in this case 'the side of the house'. By inserting different words here, we can change the location we are talking about:

sania the side of...
qulaa the area above...
qaanga the top of...
ataa the underside of...
sivuraa the front of...
ungataa the far side of...
tunua the back of...

4. There is the affix -niit-:

Piita illuup sanianiittuq.

-niit- is a close relative of the affix -miit- meaning to be at or in something:

Piita namiippa? illumiittuq. illuup sanianiittuq.
Where is Peter? He is in the house. He is beside the house.


5. There is the verb ending. The verb ending must always match the subject of the sentence:
Piita illuup sanianiittuq. Qimmiik illuup sanianiittuuk. Timmiat illuup sanianiittut.
Peter is beside the house. The two dogs are beside the house. The birds are beside the house.


We could also say:

Umiap sanianiittunga. Nunasiutiup qaanganiittutit. illuup tunuaniittuguk.
I am beside the boat. You are on top of the car. We (2) are behind the house.