Inuktut has endings that indicate who something belongs to or who someone is related to (the possessor). These endings contain a great deal of grammatical information:
1. The ending indicates who owns something or who is related to someone:
2. The ending may indicate whether there is one person, two people or three or more people who own something or are related to someone:
|ataatavut||our (3+) father|
|ataatavuk||our (2) father|
3. The ending may also indicate whether the thing that is owned or the relation is singular, dual or plural:
|panikka||my (3+) daughters|
|paniikkak||my two duaghters|
4. Finally, the endings indicate the role of the noun in the sentence:
|basic form||-ga / -ra||ijiga
of my eye
in my eye
from my eye
to my eye
The ending –ga (my) changes to –ra when it is added to a noun ending in q:
In some dialects, the –nga ending (his/her/its) can be shortened to –a:
This shortening of the ending cannot happen when the last vowel sound is long or a combination of vowels:
Naming the Possessor
If the possessor is a singular noun, it takes the ending –up.
To show a possessive relation between two nouns (e.g. Mark’s harpoon), it is necessary to have both the -up ending on the possessor (Mark) and a third person possessive ending on the other noun (harpoon).
If the possessor is in the dual or the plural, though, the -up ending is not used:
the two men’s boats
the land of Inuit
His versus His Own
Inuktut has a set of what are called reflexive endings to talk about something that is his/her/its/their own.
These endings normally contain the affix -mi-
Piita angirramini sinilauqtuq.
Peter slept at his house (his own house).
Compare the meaning of the sentence above with the one below:
Piita Maakusiup angirrangani sinilauqtuq.
Peter slept at his house (a house belonging to Mark).
By using the affix -ngata, it is possible to express two or even three levels of relationships within the same sentence, i.e. when the possessor has its own possessor:
Simiuniup nunasiutingata kiinga
The key to Simon’s car.
my mother’s parka
The plural form of the –ngata ending highlighted above is –ngita:
my mother’s younger sisters
anaanama nukangita uingit
the husbands of my mother’s younger sisters