Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Inuktitut: more or less polite than English?

I'm looking through the copy of Inuit Essentials: A Phrasebook that I got from Pirurvik not long ago.

On page 66, in the section on "phone, computer & e-mail", it mentions that As with daily conversation, discussions on the telephone in Inuktitut take place without a lot of the polite language and niceties used in English and French. (So, presumably with the simple straight-forwardness that is also a good hallmark of, say, Klingon style.)

But then on page 95, in the bit on food, there's a phrase ᐸᓚᐅᒑᖅᑐᕈᒪᔪᖓ palaugaaqturumajunga, glossed "Give me some bannock."

I imagine this breaks down as palaugaaq- + -tuq- + -juma- + -junga. (Edit: the citation form may be -guma- rather than -juma-.) Palaugaaq is "bannock" (this is listed on page 94); I think -tuq- is "eat, drink", perhaps more generally "consume" (compare kaapituqtunga "I drink coffee", tiituqtunga "I drink tea"); the final -junga (-tunga after a consonant) is the "I" form (first person singular subject; no object). So that leaves only what I think is -juma- (here as -ruma- by assimilation to the uvular q of -tuq-), which I think is "want".

So the whole thing turns into "I want to eat bannock". Rather more indirect than the English "Give me some bannock", I'd say :)

(And I'm sure there are lots of smart-ass Inuk teenagers who'd react with "Interesting; thanks for telling me that." rather than handing over the bannock. Just like some mothers do when children go "I want some cookies.")

(And incidentally, bannock was not a word I was previously acquainted with.)

Also, I am amused, as I usually am, by claims such as the one on page 112, where "to make pronunciation easier" is used for what I might term "to conform with the phonotactics of Inuktitut" :)

Tags: inuktitut
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