Word classes

Innu has several types of words, which we also call word classes. Word classes can also be referred to as grammatical categories or parts of speech.

Words that share common characteristics belong to the same class. Innu has the following word classes:

  • nouns
  • verbs
  • pronouns and demonstratives
  • particles

The class of a word can be determined by its form (morphology) or by its function, that is, how it is used in a sentence.

Variable and invariable words

Words can also be classified by whether they are variable or invariable. Variable words can take different grammatical markings, also called inflections.When a word has a grammatical marking or inflection, we say it is inflected. In Innu, verbs are always inflected, because they can never occur without any grammatical markings, while nouns can occur without inflections. Particles are never inflected, which is why they are invariable.

 

Variable words Invariable words
Nouns Particles
Verbs
Pronouns

Most Innu words are variable.

Variable words
mitshuap house mitshuapa houses
mitshuapit in the house nipapatan I arrive
papatau s/he arrives papatapan s/he arrived
tshika papatan you will arrive apu papatain you will not arrive
Invariable words
pessish close tshekat almost
shash already miam it’s good, like