-mik and its plural form -nik are used very frequently in Inuktitut 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 Inuktitut, 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.|
Note, too that -mik is added to words that describe the object:
|Atausirmik illumik takujuq.||She sees one house.|
|Quqsuqtumik illumik takujuq.||She sees a yellow house.|
When -mik is added to a noun ending in q, it normally changes this q to r. An exception, though, happens with the names of colours. When -mik is added to a colour, it deletes final q.
The dual form of -mik is -nik :
|Quqsuqtuunnik pualuqaqtutit.||You have two yellow mitts.|
Note above how the word for yellow, quqsuqtuq, changes to quqsuqtuuk in the dual.
|Pingasunik qiturngaqaqtunga||I have three children.|
In the above sentence, the speaker says very generally that she has three children. The person she is speaking to probably doesn't know the children or very much about them.
An easy way to learn -mik and -nik is to use them with numbers and colours
|Ququsuqtumik nasaqsimajuq.||He is wearing a yellow hat.|
|Tallimanik tuttunik takujunga.||I see five caribou.|
see also: describing people or objects
-mik is also used frequently with people's names:
| Mialimik nulialik
|| He has a wife named Mary.
When -mik and -nik (plural) are added to stems that end in q, they change the q to r:
| surusiq + mik =
|surusiq + nik =||surusirnik||some children|
|inuk + mik =||inummik||a person|
|inuuk + nik =
||inuunnik|| two people
|inuk + nik =||inunnik||some people|
|natsiik + nik =||natsiinnik||two seals|
|marruuk + nik =
||marruunnik||two of something
|tallimat + nik =||talimanik||five of something|