Example Words
tshitatussen you work atusse! Work!
tshinipan you sleep nipa! Sleep!
tshimanakupeuin you take off your coat manakupeui! Take off your coat!
tshimitshin you eat it mitshi! Eat it!
tshimitshishun you eat mitshishu! Eat!
tshimin you drink mini! Drink!
tshinikamun you sing nikamu! Sing!
tshitshiueun you return home tshiueui! Go home!
tshitishikapaun you stand in a certain way ishikapaui! Stand like this!
tshitshitapaten you look at it tshitapata! Look at it!
tshitshipain you close it tshipai! Close it!
tshitashtuein you light it ashtuei! Light it!
tshitshitapamau you see her/him tshitapam! Look at her/him!
tshuitshiau you help her/him uitshi! Help her/him!
tshinatutuau you listen to her/him natutu! Listen to her/him!

Verb stems form the basis of conjugation. Every verb class is characterized by a certain number of verb stems. Endings vary between verb classes, and also depend on verb stems. Of all the verb forms, the 2nd person singular of the Indicative Imperative (which also indicates the order) makes it easiest to identify the stem of a verb, since this form never takes a prefix and, in most cases, does not take a suffix, either; in some instances, a long i is added to this imperative form, for example when a stem ends with a consonant; in other instances, the imperative form ends with a thematic vowel that is part of the inflection (TA and TI verbs). Since II verbs never take the imperative, their stem must be identified by removing suffixes.

The conjugation of Innu verbs is therefore organized in terms of four verb classes (AI, II, TI, TA) and by grouping stems that behave similarly in each verb class. These stems are named according to their common ending, for example:

  • Stems ending with a long vowel (other than u): long a/e/i stems
  • Stems ending with a long u: long u-stems
  • Stems ending with a consonant: stems with a consonant
  • Stems ending with a short i : short i-stems
  • etc.

By paying close attention to conjugated forms, we can see that the stem itself changes very little, while a large variety of inflections are used to reflect all sorts of grammatical information.

nitatussen I work
tshitatussenau you (pl) work
atussepan s/he worked
apu atussein you don’t work
tshuitshinan you help us
nuitshiau I help her/him
nuitshikuti s/he helped me
uitshietshe s/he should help him/her

More information on the stems of each verb class is given on their individual pages.