The Yugtun, or Alaska, script was devised in 1900 by Uyaquq (1860-1924), a Yup'ik shaman. He was inspired to create it after seeing English-speaking missionaries reading from religious texts, and being impressed that they could quote the texts using the same words every time. His descendents believe that Uyaquq first got the idea to write his language in a dream.
Uyaquq became a missionary in the Alaskan Moravian Church, and translated texts into Yup'ik. At first he used a pictographic system. However, he realised that although they were useful as a memory aid, they could not be used to represent texts accurately. Over time Uyaquq's script evolved through a number of stages until there was symbol for each of the language's syllables. A number of missionary helpers learned the Yugtun script from Uyaquq and used it in their work.
Some combinations of letters are written as ligatures, or given a special form.
This is the Lord's Prayer in the Yugtun pictograph script.
This is the Lord's Prayer in the Yugtun syllabic script.
Atamta qilagamitle; ra atran kintsiknarîle; angaiyoqauvin tikitle; piskutsin nunam kaingane piyule qilagamitun; neqkamtnik erinerpak tsikerkut; ashîlingumtniktlo avariskut, vangkutsîtstun ashîlingilreît avarîtlautsimtstun; naspanarkilrämuntlo pitstarutmundlo pifkaksaunata, taugam ashîtlerämik aviuskut. Angaiyoqauvik pineqtlo utsorunarkutseqtlo itlpit pikngafke nangiyunílingoramik. Âmen.
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