Tuesday, 15 January 2019


inkle: n a mild urge to pee;

onkle: n an accumulation of dried dirt on the elbow;

ankle: n a very gay uncle.

Monday, 24 December 2018

"word order" of Inuktitut

English and French have a Subject-Verb-Object word order encoded into their grammars (disregarding syntactic considerations for the moment). Inuktitut is different in that it has both a case (noun phrases) and mood  (verb phrases) 'marked' grammar.

For instance, the ending for moods is determined by the pronominal endings (ie, pronouns): 'I am...'; 'you are...'; 'they are...':

'I am running'  ulluktunga   'running I am'

'you are happy'  quviasuktutit  'feeling happy you are'

'she sees'  takujuq  'seeing he is'

We can then complete this grammar by (optionally/necessarily) marrying a nominal case (noun phrases) with a verbal mood (verb phrases) for transitive sentences.

'I see a person'  inungmik takujunga  'person a + seeing I am' (accusative + declarative)

'did you (just) arrive in Iqaluit?'  Iqalungnut tikippit?  'Iqaluit (plural) to arrive you (now)?' (allative + interrogative)

Now the trick is to encode the 'adverbs' (tense/aspect/polarity* (ie negatives) for verb phrases) and 'adjectives' (for noun phrases).

We can now (after more verb moods in this series) explore these syntactic elements.

*Inuktitut is preponderantly a 'verb-mood' language

Saturday, 22 December 2018

What science is

I love science. Science is a thing.

It is the marriage between reason and logic.

Reason is, at its core, a gauging of a phenomenon under observation (ie, making judgements on experience); which births logic; which, in turn, births quantity.

Take the Feynman Technique Model:


This is science in action.

It is what Einstein said about thinking in images rather than words. I call mine, Jaypeeteese.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

Broken things

I suffer from mental health issues. I think most people do, so in that respect I feel like a normal person.

I live alone.

I sometimes watch people being human together and wish that for myself. I'm staying at a hotel and yesterday I was going down to the lobby to smoke and I saw an older couple struggling to unlock their door with the key card. Right before the elevator came up the woman finally managed to open the door and the man quietly said, "Good job".

I was struck by the gentle patience of the man towards someone whom he so apparently loves, and I felt so inadequate and envious of how natural he expressed his love with only two words, sotto voce.

I cannot do that. I've been avoiding family for so long now that my grandchildren only know me through stories that my kids tell them of me. I've effectively pushed everyone away without realizing it.

I'm getting old. I feel that I will never get another opportunity to say tender words to someone I love like that man did...that would be my one regret.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Knowledge or Certainty?

The BBC series, The Ascent of Man, by Jacob Bronowski is something that I highly recommend you watch in its entirety. Therein is an episode called, Knowledge or Certainty, where Bronowski forwards a question (ie, an argument) that I think is highly relevant to our times:

should one prefer the certainty of dogma over the uncertainty of where gotten knowledge leads?

This definitely is a loaded question, indeed. But it leads to the notion of 'criticality'—ie, what are the facts/factors of the situation we should consider to arrive at the truth of the matter?

I must say that gotten knowledge is the most trust-worthy of the two choices
replete with grief and risk in all its forms as it is it is, at the very least, an honest account whose integrity is unassailable.

Monday, 10 December 2018

3 Inuktitut Grammar: a sketch

3. Verb Moods
Narrative Mood                                Verb-vunga/-vusik/-vut
The narrative mood is a pronominal ending denoting that the verb phrase is either an answer to a question or the speaker is relating a story. The narrative mood functions much like the declarative but has the additional aspect of spatial and/or temporal distance (or politeness/formality) not semantically present in the declarative.

Here is an example of an elected official at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly, recognizing his wife on her birthday:
…qaujimagit isumagivagit iqqaumavagit ammalu uummatinniipputit. Qujannamiik.
which would sound odd this way :
…qaujimagit isumagijagit iqqaumajagit ammalu uummatinniittutit.
because j/t forms are in the present tense only, whereas v/p forms encode aspect (ongoing, continuous, etc) – ie, j/t: I am thinking of you vs v/p: I think of you (often).
Here is a verb table indicating single-pronominal person and number.
Narrative                                          singular                              duel                                       plural

1st person – ‘I am…’                       -vunga/-punga                  -vuguk/-puguk                  -vugut/-pugut

2nd person – ‘you are…’               -vutit/-putit                        -vusik/-pusik                      -vusi/-pusi

3rd person – ‘s/he/it is…’              -vuq/-puq                           -vuuk/-puuk                      -vut/-put
The -vunga form is used when the stem ends in a vowel (tukisi- ‘to understand’)
tukisivunga                                         ‘I understand (now)’
uqaqtannik tukisivusik                   ‘you (two) understand what I’m saying’
tukisivut uqalimaaqtaminik          ‘they (many) understand what they are reading’
The -punga form is used when the stem ends in a consonant (isiq- ‘to enter’)
isiqpunga                                             ‘I enter(ed)’
uvunga tavva isiqputit                    ‘and now you have entered here’
isiqput                                                  ‘they (many) entered’
In Unipkaaqtuat Arvianit: Traditional Inuit Stories From Arviat, the author Mark Kalluak switches back and forth between the j/t form and the v/p forms effortlessly.
Ammaptauruuq taipkua niviaqsiat pingasut qitiktu’tuit sigjami ungatinnguaqtut. Tia’nailiuqturausungajalirmataguuq,
Long ago three girls were happily playing house near the beach. As they were playing, the first girl said,
“Pingnali uinnguariniaqpara*.”

“Hey, I’ll pretend that thing up there will be my husband.”

*-para is an example of a double-person pronoun (ie, it encodes for both the subject and the object in the one pronominal ending)
Nakturali’tuarmiguuq uinnguaqarniarniraqtuq.
The girl was referring to a big eagle.
“Unali uinnguariniaqpara.”
“I’ll pretend this thing down here is my husband,” said the second girl.
Ujarangmiguuq uinnguaqaliqłuni.
She was referring to a stone.
“Kannali ai uinnguariniaqpara.”
“Then that thing down there will be my pretend husband.”
Arvi’tuarmigliguuq uinnguaqaliqłuni.
She was referring to a huge whale.

(Unipkaaqtuat Arvianit, p. 71-73)
The switching back and forth between j/t and v/p forms goes something like this:
j/t when he is describing what is happening, and when the voice is in the present tense;
v/p when the characters speak or when the telling of the story requires no explanations.