What is a postbase? Suna Akunniġun?

If you are working with North Slope Iñupiaq Grammar, this comes from section 3.8 on p. 49.


In Iñupiatun, a sentence is often a single word, whereas in English, a sentence is almost always made up of multiple words. They function similar to the way suffixes work in English. Multiple postbases can be added to either verb stems or nouns, which can often create super long sentences/words.

There is no limit to the number of postbases that can be added onto a word, however, rarely are there more than 5 postbases added to any word.

There are a number of rules for attaching postbases to a noun or verb.

Categories of Postbases:

  1. Noun to Noun (nn)

attached to nouns –› the final product remains a noun.

Example: Aquppiutaq +qpak = Aquppiutaqpak ‘big chair’

2. Noun to Verb (nv)

attached to nouns –› the final product is a verb stem.

Example: annuġaaq + -qaq- = annuġaaqaq- ‘to have a garment’

3. Verb to Verb (vv)

attached to verbs –› final product is a verb stem.

Example: Niġi- + +valliq- = Niġivalliq- ‘to probably eat’

4. Verb to Noun (vn)

attached to verbs –› final product is a noun.

Example: aglak- + -un = aglaun


Assimilation Symbols for Postbases

The North Slope Iñupiaq Grammar uses punctuation symbols to indicate how postbases are assimilated. This site will use the same symbols for consistency’s sake. Use the chart linked below for more information on how the symbols work.

Assimilation Symbols