» Single vs. Double Verb Endings

All verbs have a subject - the person or thing that is doing the action. Verbs may also have an object - a person or thing that undergoes the action.

single verb endings

The simplest verb endings just tell us who or what the subject is:

Ippaksaq tikilauqtunga Iqalungnut
I arrived in Iqaluit yesterday
subject: uvanga
Angunasuktit utiramik nirilauqtut
When the hunters returned, they ate.
subject: ukua (angunasuktit)
Come here!
subject: ivvit

If there is an object to the verb, it will take the -mik ending if it is singular, or the -nik ending if it is plural:

Qiniqtuq ulumik.
She is searching for an ulu.

Ikajurniaqtunga niuviaksaksanik.
I will help with the things that are to be sold.

double verb endings

Inuktut also has a series of double verb endings that indicate both the subject and the object. In this book, we show the relationship expressed in the double verb endings like this:

subject   object

Takuqqaujara ullaaq.
I saw him this morning.
–jara: uvanga   uumunga
Nagligijagit ullaaq.
I love you.
–jagit: uvanga   ilingnut
Apirijumajanga qaujimangmangaaq.
He wants to ask her if she knows.
–janga: una   uumunga
Could you find that out?
–piuk: ivvit   uumunga
…luuktaaq takujariaqaramiuk
…because she has to see the doctor
–ramiuk: una   uumunga
Uqautiguvinnga quviasungniaqtunga.
I will be happy if you tell me.
–vinnga: ivvit   uvannut

objects of double verbs

With double verb endings, the object does not take the -mik/-nik ending. This is an important difference from single verb endings.

Single verb Double verb
Niqimik niuvirniaqtunga.
I will buy some meat.
Niqi niuvirniaqtara.
I will buy the meat.

subjects of double verbs

If the subject of a double verb is a singular noun, it takes the -up ending:

Subject (1 person):
Angunasuktiup takulauqtanga.
The hunter saw it.

Subject (2 people):
Angunasuktiik takulauqtangak.
The two hunters saw it.

Subject (3+ people):
Angunasuktit takulauqtangat.
The hunters saw it.