Assimilation is the process by which two nearby sounds become more similar to each other.
For example, when adding the ending +mut to the noun base inuk, the final k of the base comes into contact with the initial m of the ending, and k becomes m. Thus, the resulting word is inum-mut.
- A regressive assimilation rule has applied: km → mm.
- Another regressive assimilation rule is for example this one: qm → rm. Thus, nanuq +mik → nanur–mik.
All the regressive assimilation rules of Nunavik Inuktitut are summed up in the table below.
Nunavik Inuktitut also has these three special assimilation rules, that apply optionally before verb endings beginning with +pi-, +pu-, +pa-:
- kp → kk
- qp → rq
- tp → kk
- sinik– +pit → sinip–pit or sinik–kit
- tusaq +pit → tusar–pit or tusar–qit
- qanuit– +pit → qanuip–pit or qanuik–kit
One last special case of assimilation must be learnt. g becomes r when deleting q.
- irniq /ga → irni-ra
- panik /ga → pani-ga)
* A few postbases make exceptions to this last rule. The g of /gaq, for example, does not become r when deleting q (as in sana-ngngua-gaq).