Remember those dreaded grammar lessons from elementary school? Remember learning about verbs? If you can conjure up memories of those times without cringing or falling asleep then you’ll remember that a verb is an action word. It conveys the core meaning of the sentence.
In Iñupiat, there are two types of verbs: transitive and intransitive. An intransitive verb doesn’t carry action from one noun directly to another. For instance, in English we have the intransitive verbs ‘talk,’ ‘smile,’ ‘arrive,’ and ‘study.’
Laura is talking.
The car arrived at the house.
The students are studying in the library.
These verbs do not carry/ transfer the action from the subject to anything else.
In an Iñupiat dictionary, you won’t likely find a verb in its complete form. You’ll find a verb stem. This is the base form of the verb, without any endings to make it a complete word. When speaking Iñupiatun, you cannot use a verb stem on its own. It needs an ending to make it a complete sentence. Below is the basic recipe for an intransitive sentence.
stem + ending = complete sentence.
You must take a verb in its stem form
|Verb: Suraġaun||English Translation|
add the appropriate ending
In an earlier lesson, you learned about assimilation. Here is how assimilation works with verb stems and verb endings.
General Rule: If a verb stem ends in
Vowel: add an ending that begins with ‘r’. Ex. Iglaŋa- +ruq = Iglaŋaruq
Consonant: add an ending that begins with ‘t.’ Ex. Uqaq- +tuq = Uqaqtuq
However, certain verb stems change the verb ending.
Verbs that end in ‘Ik’ or ‘Iq’ (remember that strong I), get an ending that starts with ‘s’. The ‘t’ changes to an ‘s’. Ex. SivunnIq- +tuq = SivunnIqsuq (‘He/she decided’)
and tara, there is your sentence!
Qamun tikitchuq iglumun.
Iḷisaqtuat iḷisaqtut makpiġaaqaġvik.