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.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

2 Inuktitut Grammar: a sketch

2. Verb Moods
Declarative Mood            Verb-junga/-jutit/-juq
The declarative mood is a pronominal ending denoting that the verb phrase is a statement. Here is a verb table indicating single-pronominal person and number.
Declarative                                         singular                        duel                            plural

1st person – ‘I am…’                       -junga/-tunga               -juguk/-tuguk            -jugut/tugut

2nd person – ‘you are…’                -jutit/-tutit                   -jusik/-tusik                -jusi/-tusi

3rd person – ‘s/he/it is…’              -juq/-tuq                        -juuk/-tuuk               -jut/-tut
The -junga form is used when the stem ends in a vowel (taku- ‘to see’)
takujunga inungmik                        ‘I see a person’

takujutit tulugarnik                         ‘you see some ravens’

takujuq iglunik                                  ‘he sees some houses’
The -tunga form is used when the stem ends in a consonant (tusaq- ‘to hear’)
tusaqtunga inngiqtumik                                ‘I hear someone singing’
tusaqtusik kutuktumik                                  ‘you (two) hear water dripping’
tusaqtut qiluktunik                          ‘they (many) hear dogs barking’
The declarative mood may affix to most verb roots and verb stems including those that denote tense.
ani-  ‘to exit’
anijuguk                                               ‘we (two) exit’ (present)

aniniaqtusi                                          ‘you (two) will leave/go out’ (momently)
anilaaqtut                                            ‘they (many) will exit’ (tomorrow)
anirataaqtuuk                                    ‘they (two) just left’ (momently)
anilauqtunga                                      ‘I went out’ (last night)
anilauqsimajusik                               ‘you (two) have gone out’ (past perfect)
-Some notes on the affixes:               -niaq-                    ‘imminent future’

                                                                -laaq-                    ‘indefinite future’

                                                                -rataaq-                ‘near/recent past’

                                                                -qau-                     ‘past tense’ (for describing events
                                                                                              of the  same day)

                                                                -lauq-                    ‘indefinite past’

                                                                -lauqsima-           ‘past perfect’

                                                                -sima-                   ‘perfect tense’
The future and past tenses are marked but the present tense is not.
The negative (-nngit-) normally precedes the pronominal endings even in cases where past tense is marked.
For example,
takunngittunga                                 ‘I do not see’
tusalaunngittuq                                ‘he has not heard’
anirataanngittugut                          ‘we (many) did not exit’
2 Exercises

Insert the right pronominal endings to these phrases:
isirniaq________                            ‘I will enter (momently)’
anilaunngit________ suli             ‘he has not gone out yet’
taku________                                  ‘you (two) see’
niri________                                    ‘they (many) are eating’

aippariik________                          ‘we (two) are a couple’

niri__________________             ‘they (many) did not eat (indefinite past)’
aullaq________________            ‘he is/has gone away’
tusaq_________________          ‘she did not hear’
ani__________ suli                        ‘you (many) have not exited yet’


Translate the following statements using the word list and the declarative mood table. Refer back to noun case endings for the right case endings. Remember that pronouns attach to verbs. Also, not all noun phrases require case endings to be grammatical.
tikit                        ‘to arrive’                            -niaqliq-               ‘imminent future’

taku                       ‘to see’                                 -laaq-                    ‘indefinite future

tusaq                     ‘to hear’                               -rataaq-                ‘near/recent past’

aullaq                    ‘to leave/travel’                  -lauq-                    ‘indefinite past’

mit-                        ‘to land’
nukappiaq           ‘boy’

niviaqsiaq            ‘girl’

Iqaluit                   ‘place name’

Iglulik                    ‘place name’

aippariik               ‘a couple’

qitunngaliik         ‘they (two) have a child’

qangatasuuq      ‘airplane’
‘we (many) will land in (to) Iqaluit momently’     __________________________________________

‘they (two) see a boy’                                              __________________________________________

‘I am leaving for Iglulik’                                           __________________________________________

 ‘the couple have a girl child’                                 __________________________________________

‘from Iqaluit to Iglulik by plane’                            __________________________________________
‘the couple just left for Iglulik'                              __________________________________________
‘you (two) will leave for Iqaluit (a week from    __________________________________________

Inuktitut Grammar: a sketch

1. Noun Endings

There are eight basic noun (or case) endings in Inuktitut.

Noun-Ø                 unmarked nouns
Noun-mi              locative case: at, in, on                                 singular -mi/plural -ni
Noun-mik           accusative case: object of a                         singular -mik/plural-nik                             transitive verb

Noun-mit            ablative case: from, than                             singular -mit/plural-nit
Noun-mut           allative case: to, for, with                            singular -mut/plural-nut
Noun-(u)p          genitive case: possessive,                            subject of a double pronominal

Noun-kkut          translative case: through,
                             by (way of)

Noun-tut             equative case: like, as, in                              the manner of

The noun endings and the verbal moods in Inuktitut do away with word/phrase order that necessitate strict English SVO word order.
The noun declensions roll out this way:
Absolutive          Noun-Ø
An unmarked noun serves as a subject of an intransitive verb, or verb phrases with single-pronominal endings:
For single-pronominal endings (whether singular, dual or plural):
una inuk-Ø tikirataaqtuq umiakkut                         'this person arrived by boat’
ukuak inuuk- Ø tikirataaqtuuk umiakkut               ‘these two (persons) just arrived by boat’
ukua inuit- Ø tikirataaqtut umiakkut                     ‘these (many) people just arrived by boat’
For intransitive verbs:
Jaani inngiqtuq                                                            ‘Johnny is singing’
Saali siniktuq                                                               ‘Saul is sleeping’
qimmiq qiluktuq                                                         ‘the dog is barking’

An unmarked noun serves as an object of verb phrases that have double-pronominal endings .

For double-pronominal endings (again, whether singular, dual or plural):
Qulittaliup takujanga inuk                           ‘Qulittalik sees a person’                                 inuk – singular
Qulittaliup takujangik inuuk                       ‘Qulittalik sees the (two) people’                   inuuk – dual
Qulittaliup takujangit inuit                         ‘Qulittalik sees the (many) people’                inuit – plural

Locative               Noun-mi/-ni

The locative case denotes where something is located in space or time: in, on, or at.
Iqalungni nunaqaqtunga                              ‘I live in Iqaluit’                                                -Iqaluit is plural
natirmi siniktuq                                             ‘s/he is sleeping on the floor’
July-mi tuvaisuuq                                          ‘the sea ice breaks up in July’

8:30-mi iqqanaijariaqpaktuq                      ‘s/he goes to work at 8:30

Accusative          Noun-mik/-nik
This grammatical marker denotes the object of a transitive verb.
qimmirmik takujunga                                    ‘I see a dog’

uqalimaagarnik ajjaqsijutit                         ‘you are carrying books’

marruungnik nattilauqtuq                           ‘s/he caught two seals’

Ablative               Noun-mit/-nit

The ablative case denotes a direction ‘from’ spatially or temporally, or as a comparative.

ullaamit unnumut angunasusuut                ‘from dawn to dusk they’re out hunting’

 Iqalungnit tikilauqtuq                                   ‘s/he arrived from Iqaluit’
Jaanimit takiniqsaujutit                                 ‘you are taller than Johnny’
Allative                                Noun-mut/-nut

The allative case denotes direction ‘to/towards’ spatially or temporally, or the recipient, or instrument of an action.

Iglulingmut aullarniaqtunga                       ‘I will be travelling to Iglulik shortly’
ilinniaqtinut piliriaksat angirrami            ‘homework for the students’
ullaamit unnumut angunasusuut             ‘from dawn to dusk they’re usually out hunting’
qalurautimut aputaijaijuq                           ‘s/he is removing the snow with a shovel’
Genitive              Noun-up/-p
The genitive case has two grammatical functions: to denote the possessor, and as a subject of a double-pronominal ending.
As a subject marker in double-pronominal endings:
Qulittaliup takujanga tuktu                         ‘Qulittalik sees a caribou’
Qulittaliup takujangik tuktuuk                  ‘Qulittalik sees two caribou’
Qulittaliup takujangit tuktut                      ‘Qulittalik sees many caribou’
The genitive case is used to distinguish the subject (-up) from the thing owned or from the other person in the relationship (-nga):
Joanasiup nulianga                                         ‘Joanasi’s wife’
Jaipitiup qamutaujanga                                 ‘Jaipiti’s snowmobile’
Pujjuup ataatagijaanga                                 ‘I am Pujjuut’s father’
Translative         Noun-kkut

The primary function of the translative case denotes ‘going through’ something―whether material substance, living beings, natural or psychological phenomena.

sikukkut ingirrajut                                           ‘they are travelling on the sea ice’
aksururnaqtukkuutuq                                    ‘s/he is experiencing psychologically-trying times’
sullulikkut pisuktunga                                   ‘I am walking down a hallway’
The translative case can also denote the means of movement or travelling:
qangatasuukkut tikittut                                ‘they came in by airplane’
qimuksikkut aullaqtugut                               ‘we (many) are travelling by dogteam’
Equative              Noun-tut
The equative case denote how things are similar, or how things are done (ie, in what manner).
Inuktitut ilinniaqtunga                    ‘I’m learning Inuktitut’                  -literally, learning (to speak) in
                                                                                                                       the manner of Inuit
iglutut angitigijuq                             ‘s/he is as big as a house’
iliktut isumajunga                            ‘I think like you do’                         -ie, in full agreement
Exercises 1

This is an excerpt from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Underline the case endings that you recognize.


Leon Werth-mut
Asajaukainnarumavunga surusirnut uuvinga uqalimaagarmik
uqalimaarniaqtunut taanna turaaqtigumagakku innauliqtumut.
Pijjutiqattiaqpungali taapsuminga: silarjualimaami piqannirilaarigakku.

 -hint: there should be six instances of case endings

Insert the right case ending for these phrases.
‘in Iqaluit’                           Iqalung___                               ‘from the house’              iglu___
‘to the boy’                        nukappia___                            ‘on a person’                     inung___
‘by snowmobile’              qamutauja___                           ‘for women’                       arna___
‘from the trees’                napaaqtu___                             ‘to the people’                 inung___

‘Johnny’s’                           Jaani___                                    ‘I see a dog’                        qimmir___ takujunga

‘I see (many) dogs’         qimmir___ takujunga

This is me...

...looking elsewhere while life passes me by.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

James Spader is...

...Canada's Leonard Cohen; Britain's Anthony Hopkins:

whatever the metre, the demands of the stage, one must deliver.