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.

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