I decided that I don't have the patience to go through any lessons, so I thought I would dive into reading directly about the grammar, using "Introductory Inuktitut - Reference Grammar" by Mick Mallon and "Inuktitut - Eine grammatische Skizze" by Elke Nowak. But I am seriously in over my head with virtually everything, so this should be fun...
My first goal is to get a basic understanding of simple declarative sentences. There seems to be a key difference between transitive and intransitive verbs, but this seems to be more grammatical than semantic. The reference grammar has examples like
1) niuviqtimik takujunga = I see a trader
2) niuviqti takujara = I see the trader
Looking ahead in my grammar I see that niuviqtimik is in the objective case and niuviqti is in the absolute case. There's also an ergative case, so Inuktitut will be the first ergative language I have tried to learn. I sort of understand in theory what ergative and absolute are, but it's unclear to me what this objective case is. This may have something to do with this antipassive, but for now I'll go with thinking that taku- in 1) is intransitive, and taku- in 2) is transitive, and that the difference is not marked for this verb, while it is for other verbs. And then there's a relation between transitivity and specificity (this is not too strange, since I know in Turkish that only specific direct objects are marked with the accusative case). This would mean -mik marks the object of an intransitive verb
, but hopefully I'll be able to understand this soon in a way that makes sense.
Anyway, on to the endings. For intransitive verbs, the endings only refer to a subject and they are
And -j- becomes -t- after consonants. There's an alternate series of endings which seem to differ only in the initial consonant, with -v- after vowels and -p- after consonants, but I'm not sure what exact difference there is, so I will just keep this in mind from now on. (There's also a set of "optional" negative endings used with negative verbs, but I will ignore that for now.)
On to transitive verbs, where the endings refer to the subject and object. There's a lot of combinations here, but I can't find most of them. Both books just give the possibilities where the subject and object are both singular. Does anybody know where I can find the other endings?
This doesn't cover reflexive meanings, which seem to be done differently, but I'll leave that for later too.
The endings also don't seem to have a lot of patterns to make them easier to learn. This will be tough for me, I think