March 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Do you speak Inuit? I’m learning Qikiqtaaluk, the dialect of coastal northern Inuktitut. But  you could choose another dialect on the excellent website Inuktitut Tusaalanga. This initiative seeks to increase both facility and prestige of the Inuit language in the North of Canada. In 1999, the Territory Nunavut was created. Having representation in the Canadian government it also internally has a governmental system though elected council bodies. Alongside the council is a body whose purpose is to make sure the governance of the territory is in line with or acknowledges Inuit systems of law and customary practices.

What is fascinating about this territory and indeed this language learning website is an insistence of dialect preservation which affords prestige equally. Given the vastness of the territory and the difficulty of moving across this terrain, it is not surprising that there are considerable differences in language. However language planning efforts usually bestow prestige on one particular variety and develop and enhance that to the detriment of others. Because there are word-final consonants …see the title of the post, we need to be able to write the consonants alone. This is the far right column.

Below is the syllabry used for Inuktitut in Nanavut. It is also written with a Roman script and it appears not uncommon for messages to be presented in the two scripts side by side. Symbols with a dot represent the same sound but with the a phonemically long vowel.


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