Grammar » 33 » Locations

Inuktut speakers are precise when talking about where things are located.  There is a long list of locations to master.  The first thing to remember is that there are different workds to indicate a person or objects is in a specific spot versus a general area:

uvani (right) here
mâni in this area
ikani over there (specific spot)
avani over there (general area)
pikani up there (specific spot)
pâni up there (general area)
kanani down there (specific spot)
unani down there (general area)

There are no set rules that will help you to decide when to use one term over the other. A lot depends on context. For example, both uvani / mâni could refer to very large areas:

uvani right here (in Iqaluit)
mâni here (in Nunavut)

or they could each refer to much smaller spaces:

uvani right here in this spot
mâni in this building

 The best advice is to learn these terms as pairs and then listen carefully to fluent speakers to hear how they are used in coversation.

2. These locational words will often be heard with the prefix ta- which indicates that a location has already been mentioned or implied in the conversation:

basic form with ta-prefix English equivalent
uvani tapvani right here
mâni tamâni around here
ikani taikani over there (specific spot)
avani vani over there (general area)
pikani tapikani up there (specific spot)
pâni tapâni up there (general area)
kanani takanani down there (specific spot)
unani taunani down there (general area)


3. Note that all of the terms in the table above end with the affix -ni , meaning that the person/object described is in or at a place.

To talk about motion towards a specific spot we replace the -ni ending with -unga:

towards a location English equivalent
tapvunga to here (specific spot)
tamaunga to here (more general area)
tâvunga to there (specific spot)
taikunga to there (more general area)
tappikunga up to there (specific spot)
tappaunga up there (general area)
takanunga down to there (specific spot)
taununga down to there (more general area)


4. If we replace the ending with -anngat, we can talk about motion away from a place:.

away from a location English equivalent
tapvanngat from here (specific spot)
tamânngat from here (more general area)
tâvanngat from there (specific spot)
taikanngat from there (more general area)
tappikanngat from to there (specific spot)
tappânngat from there (general area)
takananngat from down there (specific spot)
taunanngat from down there (more general area)


5. And, if we replace the ending with -(u)una, we can talk about motion through a space:

through a location English equivalent
tapvona from here (specific spot)
tamauna from here (more general area)
tâvona from there (specific spot)
taikona from there (more general area)
tappikona from to there (specific spot)
tappauna from there (general area)
takanona from down there (specific spot)
taunona from down there (more general area)