Grammar » 18 » The Ending -mik / -nik

The noun ending -mik and its dual/plural form -nik are used very frequently in Inuktut and require a detailed explanation. Consider the following two sentences in English:

He bought the blue car. He bought a blue car.

In the first sentence, we are talking about a specific car that is known both to the person who is speaking and the person he is talking with. In the second sentence, the speaker refers to the car very generally. The exact car that was purchased is irrelevant to the conversation they are having.

In Inuktut, when we are speaking very generally about a person or a thing, we attach the affix -mik to the person or thing.

illumik takujuk. She sees a house.

Note, too, that -mik is added to words that describe the object, like the colour or number:

Atausimik illumik takujuk. She sees one house.
Kutsutammik illumik takujuk. She sees a yellow house.


The dual form of -mik is -nik :

Aupaluttânik pualuKajutit. You have a pair of red mittens.

Note how the word above for red, aupaluttak, changes to aupaluttâk in the dual.

The plural form of -mik is also -nik :

Pingasunik KitungaKavunga. I have three children.

-mik and -nik are frequently used with numbers and colours:

Kutsutânik pualulik. He has yellow mitts.
Tallimanik tuttunik takuvunga. I see five caribou.

-mik is also used frequently with people's names:

Mialimik nulialik. He has a wife named Mary.

The endings -mik and -nik delete the final consonant sound of words they are added to:

Kagitaujak computer
Kagitaujamik a computer
Kagitaujanik some computers