Relative Case: Who’s doing what?

In your transitive Iñupiat sentence, the subject of your sentence must be in the relative noun case. This is different from intransitive sentences, where the subject is in the absolutive case (in other words, no change is made to the noun). To get started, let’s take a look at these two English sentences.

Aalaak sees the Kanauq.

Kanauq is helping her grandmother.

Notice that the endings of the subjects change.

Aalaagum qiñiġaa Kanauq.

Kanaum ikayuġaa aakani.

Remember from the noun case chart, that the marker for the relative case is -m or -gum

Assimilation: these are the assimilation rules for the relative case.

Pay attention to the noun stem ending to see how you add the relative case maker -m or -gum

Vowel (-n finals get changed to -ti and -ñ finals get changed to -si): just add

iglu         iglum

nuviya    nuviyam

aŋun      aŋutim

Weak q: q gets dropped

aġnaq       aġnam

qimmiq    qimmim

Strong consonant (Q or k): add :um

natchiQ   natchiġum

tupiQ       tupqum

for -k endings, k becomes g and then is dropped if it is between two single vowels.

uyaġak     uyaġaum

kamik       kamŋum

Dual and Plural: these words look the same whether they are in the relative case or the absolutive case. Take a look at these examples.

Relative and Absolutive
Relative and Absolutive