Nouns inflected for Number

Observation
ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ Click here to hear this word awaashish a child SINGULAR
ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔑᒡ Click here to hear this word awaashishich children PLURAL

The word above comes in two forms: ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ awaashish and ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔑᒡ awaashishich. The second form is made up of the first form plus an ending: awaashish + ich.

The form ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ awaashish is called the stem of the noun. When the form ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ awaashish is used without any ending, it is called SINGULAR. It means that there is just one. When the second form ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔑᒡ awaashishich is used, with the ending -ich , it is called PLURAL, and it means that there is more than one. This appears clearly when you use ‘one’, ‘two’ or ‘three’ with the noun:

ᐹᔨᒄ ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ Click here to hear this word paayikw awaashish one child (singular)
ᓃᔓ ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔑᒡ Click here to hear this word niishu awaashishich two children (plural)
ᓂᔥᑐ ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔑᒡ Click here to hear this word nishtu awaashishich three children (plural)

This distinction between one and more than one is called NUMBER. Some nouns take another ending for their plural.

ᒥᔅᒋᓐ Click here to hear this word mischin a shoe ᐊᔥᑐᑎᓐ Click here to hear this word ashtutin a hat
ᒥᔅᒋᓐᐦ Click here to hear this word mischinh shoes ᐊᔥᑐᑎᓐᐦ Click here to hear this word ashtutinh hats

Nouns like ᐊᐧᐋᔑᔥ awaashish are called ANIMATE Nouns and like ᒥᔅᒋᓐ mischin are called INANIMATE Nouns (see Gender).