The modalis case plays many roles in the Iñupiat language. This is one of them.
In your intransitive sentence, often times you will need what is called an indefinite object. But what is an indefinite object?
First, an object of a sentence is the noun that is receiving the action of the verb, such as the word ‘pancake’ in the following sentence.
Marshall is eating a pancake.
An indefinite object refers to a non-specific object in an intransitive sentence. Take a look at the word ‘pancake’ in the following examples.
Marshall is eating a pancake. ‹—- indefinite
Marshall is eating the pancake ‹—- definite
An indefinite object, in Iñupiat, is always a part of an intransitive sentence rather than a transitive sentence. And an Iñupiat indefinite object takes the modalis case, which is a specific ending (similar to a postbase) ÷mik.
Marshall niġiruq siḷaavyaŋmik.
Remember that word order is flexible in Iñupiat. The word order depends on what you want to emphasize in your sentence.
Marshall siḷaavyaŋmik niġiruq.
Niġiruq siḷaavyaŋmik Marshall.
Niġiruq Marshall siḷaavyaŋmik.
Siḷaavyaŋmik niġiruq Marshall.
Siḷaavyaŋmik Marshall niġiruq.
Assimilation with ÷mik
If you need a refresher on assimilation, click here.
÷mik is the ending for the modalis case. This site is using the same assimilation symbols as the North Slope Iñupiaq Grammar. Remember that the ÷ means that “the postbase deletes stem-final weak q but not Q, k, or n.” Here are examples of assimilation for ÷mik, depending on the noun ending. For instance if a noun ends in:
vowel, n or ñ
Just add. For nouns ending in -n or -ñ, either add or convert -n to -ti and -ñ to -si and add.
qavlu qavlumik an eyebrow
puya puyamik a piece of dirt or grime
avillaitqan avillaitqanmik or avillaitqatimik a friend
akiñ akiñmik or akisimik a pillow
Add, deleting weak q. Middle consonant may be geminated.
aġnaq aġnamik a woman
qaqasaŋŋuaq qaqasaŋŋuamik a computer
qayaq qayamik or qayyamik a kayak
qimmIq qimmimik a dog
Add, retain the strong consonant and assimilate. For the purpose of this lesson, strong q’s will be marked as Q.
uyaġak uyaġaŋmik a rock
kamik kamiŋmik a boot
AiviQ aiviġmik a walrus
Dual and Plural Nouns
Remember that all dual nouns end in -k. Remember that all k’s are strong. Strong I’s cause palatalization. When assimilating dual nouns with the modalis case, add ÷nik.
qaqasannuak qaqasaŋŋuaŋnik (two) computers
uyaqqak uyaqqaŋnik (two) rocks
aivvak aivvaŋnik (two) walruses
qimmIk qimmiŋñik (two) dogs
Remember that absolutive plurals end in either -t or -ch. For modalis plurals, add ÷nik to the singular form of the noun. Strong consonants are retained and assimilated.
qaqasaŋŋuaq qaqsaŋŋuanik computers
uyaġak uyaġaŋnik rocks
aiviQ aiviġnik walruses
qimmIq qimmiñik dogs