Grammar » 13 » The Dual

In English, when we want to talk about more than one of something, we usually add an s to the end of a noun:
one door two doors three doors

In Inuktut, we use different endings to distinguish between two of something and more than two of something:

matu one door
matuuk (two) doors
matuit (3+) doors
The dual form is used to talk about two of a particular object. You can recognize the dual form as any noun that ends in a double vowel, followed by a -k.
saak (two) tables
uqaalautiik (two) telephones
illuuk (two) buildings

 

Here's how to change a noun from its singular form to the dual:

  • if the object ends in a vowel, double the last vowel and add -k:
nuvuja cloud
nuvujaak (two) clouds
 
  • if the object ends in a -t, add the ending -iik:
uqaalaut phone
uqaalautiik (two) phones
 
  • if it ends in any consonant other than -t, delete the last consonant, double the last vowel, and add -k:
kamik skin boot
kamiik (two) skin boots
   
qarasaujaq computer
qarasaujaak (two) computers


Remember that in Inuktut, you almost never put together more than two vowels in a row. So if you drop the final consonant and find you already have two vowels, just add -k:

qarasaujaralaaq laptop
qarasaujaralaak (two) laptops