Grammar » 18 » The Ending -mik / -nnik / -nik

The noun ending -mik (dual: -nnik; plural: -nik) is used very frequently in Inuktut and requires a detailed explanation. Consider the following two sentences in English:

Una qarasaujaralaaq. This is a laptop.
Qarasaujaralaarmik niuviqtuq. She is buying a laptop.

In the first sentence, we are talking about a specific laptop that is right in front of the person who is speaking. In the second sentence, the speaker refers to the laptop very generally. The exact laptop that was purchased is irrelevant to the conversation.

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 takujuq. She sees a house.

The ending -mik often (but not always) changes the consonant sound that comes before it:

qarasaujaq computer
qarasaujarmik a computer
inuk person
inummik a person; an individual

The dual form of -mik is -nnik. It is added to the dual form of the noun. 

pualu mitten
pualuuk two mittens
pualuunnik a pair of mittens
Pauluunnik niuvilauqtuq. He/she bought a pair of mittens.

Note that the dual ending -nnik is always preceded by a long vowel sound:

tuttu caribou
tuttuunnik a couple of caribou
kamik sealskin boot
kamiinnik a pair of sealskin boots.


The plural form of -mik is -nik :

inunik some people
illunik some houses
qarasaujarnik some computers

The endings  -mik-nnik  and -nik  are frequently used with numbers:

atausiq one
atausirmik one of something
Atausirmik nasaqaqtunga. I have one hat.
marruuk two
marruunnik two of something; a pair of something
Marruunnik nasaqaqtunga. I have two hats
pingasut three
pingasunik three of something
Pingasunik nasaqaqtunga. I have three hats.

The endings  -mik-nnik  and -nik  are also frequently used with colours.  Note that when the root word is a colour, these endings always delete the consonant sound that comes before:

aupaqtuq red
aupaqtumik a red one
Aupaqtumik titirautiqaqtunga. I have a red pen.
Aupatuunnik titirautiqaqtunga. I have a couple of red pens.
Aupaqtunik titirautiqaqtunga. I have some red pens.