Inuktitut is an Inuit language spoken mainly in northern Canada, specifically in parts of Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. According to the 2011 census, there are 34,000 speakers of Inukutitut, which is also known as Eastern Canadian Inuktitut.
The name Inuktitut is used to refer to all the Inuit languages of Canada. The names Inuvialuktun, Inuinnaqtun, and Inuttut are also used to refer to Inuit languages spoken in specific areas.
Inuktitut has official status in Nunavut, along with Inuinnaqtun, English and French. Inuktitut has legal recognition in Nunavik (ᓄᓇᕕᒃ) in northern Quebec, and is used as the medium of instruction in Nunavik schools. In Nunatsiavut, an autonomous area of northern Newfoundland and Labrador with a majority Inuit population, Inuktitut has some official recognition.
Inuktitut immersion programs for pre-school, primary and seconday education were introduced in Nunavik in the early 2000s. Since 2012, a college in Iqaluit, in Baffin Island, has been training teachers to teach in Inuktitut.
The Inuktitut syllabary was adapted from the Cree syllabary in the late 19th century by John Horden and E. A. Watkins, missionaries from England. Edmund Peck promoted the use of the syllabary across the Canadian Arctic, and also translated the bible into Inuktitut, and wrote an Eskimo Grammar and an Eskimo-English Dictionary.
In 1976 the Language Commission of the Inuit Cultural Institute approved two standardized writing systems for Inuktitut in Canada: one using the syllabary and the other using the Latin alphabet.
Today the Inuktitut syllabary, which is known as titirausiq nutaaq (ᑎᑎᕋᐅᓯᖅ ᓄᑕᐊᖅ) or qaniujaaqpait (ᖃᓂᐅᔮᖅᐸᐃᑦ), is used mainly in Canada, especially in the territory of Nunavut (ᓄᓇᕗᑦ), the population of which is 85% Inuit, and in Nunavik (ᓄᓇᕕᒃ), Quebec. The Latin alphabet, known as qaliujaaqpait is used in other parts of Canada.
In September 2019 the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami / ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᑕᐱᕇᑦ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ (ITK), an organization the protects and advances the rights and interests of Inuit people in Canada, agreed on a standard way of writing the Inuit languages of Canada with the Roman alphabet. It is known as the Inuktut Qaliujaaqpait writing system, and is intended to provide an alternative, auxiliary writing system that can be used as well as, or instead of, the existing systems. More information.
Hear how to pronunce Inuktitut:
Inuluktaat inuulisaannguqput nangminiirungnasimaqaqɬutik ajjigiingmiglu
ilitarijaujjutsiaqaqɬutiglu pijungnautitauqaqɬutik. Isumaksaqsiurungnatsiarnirmik
inuutsiarutigijarlu piliqtungauttut, asianngurnullu iliurnirviqatigiittaruksariaqaraluaqput
(Titiqqaqsimajuq 1 Kitutuinnat pijungnautit silarjuarmiuqatigiinnut nalunaiqsiutit)
Inuujulimaat aniqtirijulimaat inuulaurmata isumarsurlhutik
ammalu ajjiuqatigiiklhutik nirsuangunikkut ammalu pijunnautitigut.
Isuqaqtuqutiqartitauvalirput pijjutiqarnikkut ammalu isumagisimanikkut
qanuilijjutiqariaqalirtut immingnuuqatigiiglutik ukpirnikkut
(Ilanga 1 Silarjuarmiut nalunaiqsiutinga kinakkutuinnait pijunnautingit)
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information Inuktitut and Nunavut
Information about the Inuktitut Syllabary
Online Inuktitut lessons
Inuktitut online radio
Nunatsiaq news (in English)
Nunavut Arctic College (in Inuktitut & English)
Government of Nunavut (in Inuktitut, French & English)
Nunasoft - Inuktitut software and other resources
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Page last modified: 01.06.21
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