In English we have words that we put before nouns to indicate who they belong to:
|my jacket||your parka|
In Inuktut, we add an affix to the end of the noun. The above would be translated:
The same endings can be used for possessions or relations:
In English the words that indicate possession: my, your, our, etc. are fairly straightforward. There is only one form that we use before any noun, be it singular or plural:
|my car||my cars|
ONE POSSESSION OR RELATION
|illuit||your (1) house|
|illunga||his / her house|
|illuvuk||our (2) house|
|illuvut||our (3+) house|
|illusi||your (2+) house|
SOME TRICKIER DETAILS...
(i) For nouns that end in vowels, you just add the ending.
If these endings are added to a noun that ends in a consonant, the last consonant is deleted:
|qimmisi||your (2+) dog|
(ii) -ga (my) has a second form, -ra, that is used after any noun that ends in -q:
(iii) For the Inuktut version of 'your' just add -t (instead of -it) to roots that end in two vowels:
TWO POSSESSIONS OR RELATIONS
|paniikka(k)||my two daughters|
|panivuk||our (2+) two daughters|
|paniikkik||your two daughters|
|panisik||your (2+) two daughters|
|paningik||his/her/their two daughters|
- The last vowel sound of the root is lengthened before the endings -kkak and -kkik.
- All dual endings delete the last consonant sound of the root to which they are added.
- The endings for “his / her” and “their” are the same. Context makes it clear who you are speaking of.
3+ POSSESSIONS OR RELATIONS
|irnikka||my sons (3+)|
|irnivut||our sons (3+)|
|irnitit||your (1) sons (3+)|
|irnisi||your (2+) sons (3+)|
|irningit||his/her/their sons (3+)|
- All plural possessive endings delete the last consonant of roots they are added to.
- The endings for “her/his” and “their” are the same. Context makes it clear who you are speaking of.
NAMING THE PERSON WHO POSSESSES SOMETHING
In English, when we want to name a person that something belongs to, we add an apostrophe + s to the person's name, followed by the object:
|Mary's car||Piita's dog|
In Inuktut, these three sentences would be written this way:
|Mialiup nunasiutinga||Piitaup qimminga|
- Note that the affix -up is attached to the possessor's name, much like apostrophe + s is used in English.
- the affix -nga is added to the person or thing that is possessed if it is singular; -ngik if it is dual; and -ngit if it is plural.
|arnaup qullinga||the woman's qulliq|
|angutiup pualungik||the man's mittens (2)|
|Naullaup qimmingit||Naullaq’s dogs (3+)|