What is a postbase?

Two people recently asked me about postbases so I will try to answer here.

Postbase is a term used in Inuttitut linguistics for morphemes (pieces of a word) that follow the base (root). They should not be confused with endings such as -vunga -mut etc. which appear at the very right of the word and are very grammatical.

base + (postbase(s)) + ending        Here (   ) means it is optional – not necessary.

a. a postbase can follow a noun

Kimmik ‘the dog’

dog

Kimm-siak ‘the good dog’

dog-good

 

b. a postbase can follow a verb.

nigi-vunga ‘I am eating’

eat-statement.1s

nigi-guma-vunga ‘I want to eat’

eat-want-statement.1s

 

c. a postbase can change a noun into a verb.

Kimmi-Ka-vuk ‘There is a dog’

dog-there.is-indicative.3s

 

d. a postbase can change a verb into a noun.

ilinnia-vunga ‘I am learning’

learn-statement.1s

ilinnia-vik ‘school (a place for learning)’

 

e. and very importantly, postbases follow other postbases. This allows an Inuttitut word to be like an English sentence.

nutaga-tsa-Ka-li-mmi-juk     ‘She is going to have another baby’

child-potential-have-now-again-statement.3s

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