Grammar » 6 » Personal Pronouns

In English, a verb must always be accompanied by a word to indicate who is doing the action:

I eat. She sleeps. They depart.

The highlighted words above are called personal pronouns.

Inuktut has personal pronouns although they aren't used as much as in English for reasons that will be explained below.

We'll start with the simplest personal pronouns:

uvanga I
uvaguk we; us (2)
uvagut we; us (3+)
ipvit you (1) 
ilittik you (2)
ilitsi you (3+)
una this person

It is important to remember that Inuktut verbs always indicate who is doing the action through the verb ending: 

nigivunga I eat. 
sinijuk She sleeps.
aullavusi You (3+) are departing. 

Because the verb ending already tells us who is doing an action, personal pronouns are redundant and aren’t normally used before a verb.  Where personal pronouns are used is when :
  • you are talking about a person or an object without a verb
  • you are adding emphasis:
Kanuingilanga.  ipvilittauk? I am fine, what about you?
uvangâ? * (who) me?
uvangalu Kanuingilangatauk. I (too) am fine.

* When uvanga is used to ask a question (who me?), the final a sound is drawn out.  This is reflected in writing with a long a character (â).

Notice in the above examples the use of -littauk and –lu, endings that can be tacked on to the end of the pronouns.

-littauk is used in conversation when you want to change the person or object you are talking about :

ipvit + littauk = ipvilittauk? What about you (1)?
uvanga + littauk = uvangalittauk? What about me?

-lu is an ending meaning « and » or « too » :

uinngavunga I am sleepy.
uvangalu Me, too.