Grammar » 28 » Because / when endings

In English, when we want to give a reason for something, we add a clause to a sentence that usually begins with the word “because”:

We are leaving because we are tired.

In Inuktut the clause that is underlined above is usually represented in one word. This word has a special ending that lets us know who we are talking about: 

ilauniangilanga niakKigigama
I am not going out because I have a headache.
ilauniangituk niakKigigami
He is not going out because he has a headache.


Here is a list of these endings:
niakKigigama because I have a headache
niakKigigavit because you (1) have a headache
niakKigigami / niakKigimmat * because he / she has a headache
niakKigigannuk because we (2) have headaches
niakKigigatta because we (3+) have headaches
niakKigigattik because you (2) have headaches
niakKigigatsi because you (3+) have headaches
niakKigigamik / niakKigimmatik * because they (2) have headaches
niakKigigamik / niakKigimmata * because they (3+) have headaches

Notice in the third person (he/she/it/they) that there are two options:

The endings -gami and -gamik can only be used when we are talking about the same person in a sentence:

Peta aullalaungilak Kanimagami.
Peter didn’t travel because he (Peter) is sick.

If thre is a change in who you are speaking about in the sentence, the endings -mmat, mmatik and -mmata must be used:

Peta aullalaungilak Kitunganga Kanimammat.
Peter didn’t travel because his child is sick.

All of the above endings can also be used to express the diea in English of ‘when something happened...'

Tikimmata nigikKauvugut. When they arrived, we ate.
Aullagatta sinilaujut. When we departed, they were sleeping.


There is also a negative form of these endings, to express the idea in English of 'because something did not happen.'

These endings follow the negative affix -ngit- and begin with the letter n- :

suliaKanginama because I am not working
suliaKanginavit because you (1) are not working
suliaKanginami / suliaKangimmat * because he / she is not working
suliaKanginannuk because we (2) are not working
suliaKanginatta because we (3+) are not working
suliaKanginattik because you (2) are not working
suliaKanginatsi because you (3+) are not working
suliaKanginamik / suliaKangimânik  because they (2) are not working
suliaKanginami / suliaKangimmata  because they (3+) are not working