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  • Prehistoric Migrations
  • Traditional Culture
  • Oral Literature
  • Present-day Situation
  • Phonology
  • Lexicology
  • Grammar
  • Orthographical Systems
  • Designation of Foreign Concepts
  • Words expressing function
  • Words expressing appearance
  • Legal Status
  • Social Functions
  • The Development of Inuit Education
  • Inuktitut School Materials
  • Written Media
  • Electronic Media
  • Bibliography

The Canadian Inuit and their Language

Louis-Jacques Dorais

Canada’s North is home to various native peoples” At least a dozen Indian groups occupy the sub-Arctic forest - or taiga -in the northern regions of seven provinces (British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland-Labrador) and the southern parts of two federal territories (Yukon and the Northwest Territories). From west to east, these groups are as follows (Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 1985): Kutchin, Loucheux (Eastern Kutchin), Nahani, Beaver, Dogrib, Hare, Slave, Yellowknife, Chipewyan, Woodland Cree, Naskapi and Montagnais. One must add to this list a few clusters of Western Metis, who originally emigrated from southern Manitoba and central Saskatchewan. The first nine groups belong to the Dene Nation and all speak languages of the Athapaskan family. The last three (Woodland Cree, Naskapi and Montagnais) speak Algonkian languages. As for the Metis, their mixed Indian and European- ancestry is reflected in a knowledge of Cree, French and English. North of the Sub-Arctic taiga lies the tundra, a land without any trees. This is the genuine Canadian Arctic, thought of, by many Southerners, as a cold, bleak and unforgiving area. One group of people, however, consider it to be their home. For the Inuit - formerly known as Eskimos - the country lying north of the tree-line constitutes the principal habitat. For many centuries, they have occupied and used this territory, having successfully adapted to its demanding characteristics. Thus they may truly be regarded as the one and only Canadian Arctic people.


Louis-Jacques Dorais

That is why this chapter is devoted to the Inuit, notwithstanding the fact that a description of the linguistic situation of other northern people would have been just as interesting. In the following pages, I shall try to draw a general picture of the Inuktitut - the name most Canadian Inuit give to their language (it means ‘the Inuit way’) - in all its aspects: dialectology, phonology, grammar, lexicon, sociolinguistics and ethnolinguistics. It should be noted that the author of these lines is not an Inuk Twenty years of anthropological and linguistic research in the Canadian Arctic may have enabled him to grow familiar with the culture and language of the Inuit, but his point of view is still different to that of any native northern citizen of Canada. His observations, then, should be considered as an independent and respectful examination of a very fascinating people and their language, rather than as an official opinion on Arctic problems or an insider’s view of the North.

The Inuit: The People of Canada’s Arctic
The first Inuit all lived on an island called Milliujaq in Hudson Strait...It happened that because of their increasing weight, this island slowly began to sink into the sea. People flew into a panic and amongst them an old woman, made afraid by the scarcity of available space, suddenly exclaimed: ‘Tuqu Tuqu’ (‘Death! Death!‘). ‘Unataa Unataa’ (War! War!‘)....Death then happened, and also war, and the Inuit were scattered far away, in all directions (Saladin d’Anglure, 1977, p. 85).

This myth recorded in Igloolik, in the Canadian Eastern Arctic, shows the power of words. According to the Inuit, the first human beings never died. The population increased continuously, which endangered the stability of the universe. It was finally the language -through the intervention of a frightened old woman - which established the alternation between life and death, as it was later to set up the daily rotation between light and dark:
Among the earliest living beings were the raven and the fox. One day they met and fell into talk as follows: ‘Let us keep the dark and be without daylight’, said the fox. But the raven answered: ‘May the light come and daylight alternate with the dark ofnight’. The raven kept on shrieking: ‘qaurng, qaurng!’ And at the raven’s cry, light came, and day began to alternate with night (Rasmussen, 1929, p. 253).

So, for the Inuit, language cannot be divorced from the cosmic order. Without it, there would be no life and death, no day and night, and even no difference between men and women, as told in another myth (Rasmussen, 1929, p. 252). It is impossible, then, to think about humanity without referring to its language, because only language has permitted people to live a normal existence.

The Canadian Inuit and their Language


Naturally enough, all those myths are symbols. They express the way the old Inuit used to explain the universe in which they lived. But these symbols are interesting. They show how the people of the Arctic imagine their relations with their environment. First of all, they consider themselves as human beings. This is the meaning of the word Inuit (singular Inuk). But this does not mean that they think they are intrinsically superior to other people. On the contrary, as a fourth myth tells (Saladin d’Anglure, 1977, p. 889), the Inuit, the Indians (allait), the Europeans (qallunaat) and the mythical ijiqqat (invisible beings) are all children of the same mother. Moreover, as we have seen with the story of the fox and the raven, even the animals (uumajuit) were formerly able to speak, just like human beings. A second important point is that the Inuit think that they are capable of having an influence on their milieu. As intelligent beings - expressing themselves through language - they have had the means to work out an elaborate technology, individual social structures and a symbolic system. These have permitted them to use all available resources, in order to survive in a particularly hostile environment. And hostile it is. From the Mackenzie Delta, the Arctic Coast and the flat barren grounds west of Hudson Bay, to the mountains of Baffin Island and the hills of Arctic Quebec and Labrador, the Canadian Arctic is characterized by three main features: the harshness of its climate, the paucity of its vegetation and the scarcity of its life-forms. Winter is the longest season. According to latitude, it lasts from seven to ten months. The sea is usually frozen over from October to July. Winter temperatures often drop below -40 “C, while in summer they rarely exceed 10 “C. Because of these conditions, the vegetation is very poor. Trees cannot grow, except at the very southern fringe of Inuit territory. The only vegetal life-forms are mosses, lichens and grass, to which may be added, in some sheltered locations, low bushes and berry patches. Land animals are not very diversified: caribou (the North American reindeer), polar bear, muskox and a few small mammals. However, migratory birds, fish and, above all, the various species of sea mammals (seal, walrus, whale) are much more numerous. Altogether, they furnish the food, fuel and raw materials necessary to the reproduction of human life. Truly they, the people formerly called ‘Eskimo’ (‘raw meat eaters’ or ‘strangers’ in the Algonkian Indian languages), have demonstrated that humanity can survive in the most adverse conditions. This is why they really deserve to be called by their own name: Inuit, the human beings.

Copenhagen or Moscow).850) and Ontario (1. and Grise Fiord. Arctic Quebec north of the 55th parallel of latitude and northern Labrador (province of Newfoundland-Labrador). Keewatin and Baffin regions). Since the end of the 196Os.875 people). it includes the northern and eastern sections of the Northwest Territories (administratively: the Inuvik. . The westernmost Canadian Inuit settlement. which lies on the same latitude as northern Novaya Zemlya. Poland and Minsk. faces western Greenland. on the east coast of Baffin Island. Cambridge Bay. Very few people have taken up permanent residence outside their native territory. England. ‘the land of the Inuit’. on the Atlantic Coast. There also exist small Inuit communities in some of Canada’s southern cities.>. civil servants and other employees. plus some villages on the fringe of these areas.R.500 kilometres between Happy Valley-Goose Bay.S. lies less than 200 air miles from the Alaskan border. however. all Canadian Inuit live a sedentary life in permanent year-round settlements. Most of them were residents of the Northwest Territories (15.910). The other seven provinces and the YukonTerritories comprised a total of 1. longitude. two administrative centres of the Northwest Territories. temporarily residing ‘down south’.2 per cent of all Canadian natives (Priest.390 Inuit people living in Canada. legal or administrative entity. in which they constitute a significant minority. Aklavik.660 Inuit people.S. Newfoundland-Labrador (1. where the southernmost permanent Eskimo community in the world lives.). These consist mostly of students. Szczecin. more to the south than Edmonton. The word simply refers to the areas where the Inuit used to dwell before the arrival of the Europeans (and where they generally still form the majority of the population). or about 5. They accounted for a little more than 0. the same latitude as Liverpool..1 per cent of the total Canadian population. as well as in Yellowknife and Fort Smith.000 kilometres. Winnipeg. There are 2. Edmonton and Vancouver. 1985). while Cape Dyer (61”W. Northwest Territories (76’10’ N.the federal capital . These are scattered over an area of some 3.095). As can be seen on the accompanying map (Map 61.OOO square kilometres. U.. Ellesmere Island. Inuit nunangat is not a political.500. but sizeable groups of Inuit also lived in the provinces of Quebec (4. there were 25. Commonly referred to by its native inhabitants as Inuit nunangat (or Inuit nunaat 1. with an east-west extension of more than 3. such as in Ottawa . at 135” W.Toronto. the area which constitutes the aboriginal territory of the Inuit is more circumscribed. Montreal. The north-south extension of the territory is of a similar size.188 Louis-Jacques Dorais Inuit Settlements and Language Groups in the Canadian North According to the federal census of 1981. Labrador (53”15’ N.

(8) South Baffin. (5) Kivallirmiutun. Source: Reproduced by permission of the author. . Inuit territory and language groups in Canada: (1) Uummarmiutun. (10) Labrador. (2) (3) Inuinnaqtun. L-J. (4) Natsilik. MAP 6. Dorais. (6) Aivilik. (7) North Baffin. (9) Arctic Quebec.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 189 Siglitun.

the percentage of Inuit population generally exceeded 90 per cent. Forty-six of those fifty-five settlements have an Inuit majority.5 per cent of the total Inuit population residing in the area. only 63. i. Cree (Chisasibi and Kuujjuaraapik). Northwest River. The only totally non-Inuit agglomerations. but most specialists would appear to agree on a total of ten dialects or language groups. 16. together with: (a) the number of their speakers living in Inuit nunungut. they were only 2. within Inuit nunangat. meteorological stations and radar bases (the DEW line). (b) the total number of persons of Inuit ethnic origin who. formerly known as Frobisher Bay. Nevertheless.5 per cent of the population (170 persons). In seven communities. In Iqaluit (Map 6). while in nine of them the Arctic natives constitute a minority. but in the larger agglomerations it was much smaller (Robitaille and Choinière. the total population and the population of ethnic Inuit origin in each of the fifty-five settlements then included in Inuit nunangut. Two of them (Inuvik and Nanisivik .475 Inuit.e. Rigolet. the Inuit share the territory with Canadian Indians: Dene (Inuvik and Aklavik). while in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.2 per cent of the total population was of native origin.a North Baffin mining town) -lie in the Northwest Territories.and still does . 20. with 1. were residents of each dialectal area. is consistent with the census data which show that 18. Table 4 gives the list of these dialects. Tables 2 and 3 list.190 Louis-Jacques Dorais In 1981.420 or 76. the number of speakers given per dialect is simply an appraisal based on local inquiries and information. as we we have no statistics for it. In Inuvik (population 3. In most of the small communities. Dene and Cree (Churchill). As there are no systematic data on dialectal distribution. Five of these last (Happy Valley.690 (Happy Valley-Goose Bay) and 60 inhabitants (Bay Chimo on the Arctic Coast).5 per cent of the inhabitants were Inuialuit (the local self-appellation). one in Manitoba (Churchill) and one (Chisasibi) in Quebec. there none the less exist quite important regional variations. in 1981. The total number of speakers for Inuit nunungut. A fifty-sixth village. are a few mining camps (such as Purtuniq and Polaris). 1984). or 74 per cent of a total of 25.770 individuals. but. the population of these villages and small towns ranged between 6. and (c) the percentage of speakers. has been opened since then. Makkovik and Davis Inlet) are in Labrador.335). Their approximate locations are indicated on Map 6. this town. for example (population 2.390 persons of Inuit ethnic . for 1981.125).the most populous Inuit concentration in Canada. constituted . Tables 2 and 3 also give the dialectal (language group) affiliation(s) of the Inuit population of each settlement. it does not appear in the tables. Umiujaq (on the Hudson Bay coast of Arctic Quebec). It should also be noted that most northern Labrador settlements harboured smaller percentages in Inuit than Northwest Territories and Quebec communities. If the language of the Inuit Inuktitut -is indeed the Same throughout the Canadian Arctic. Montagnais (Northwest River) and Naskapi (Davis Inlet). The exact number of speech forms recognized by various authors may differ somewhat.

335 255 780 385 340 710 155 100 350 105 660 430 365 790 1.110 950 190 1.455 Sources: Robitaille & Choinière. 1985. 1984.125 770 160 175 300 810 60 815 525 430 255 355 235 430 1.475 230 740 365 20.025 370 640 690 145 165 275 745 60 610 500 400 240 340 220 400 850 855 175 965 350 745 165 105 375 260 705 445 375 a40 2. Dorais. .545 15.The Canadian Inuit and their Language TABLE 2 Inuit Nunangat settlements in 1981 (Northwest Territories) Inuit Total Ethnic Population Origin - 1 9 1 Settlement Language Group Affiliations Uummarmiutun Uummarmiutun/Siglitun Siglitun Siglitun Siglitun Inuinnaqtun Inuinnaqtun Inuinnaqtun Inuinnaqtun Natsilik Natsilik Natsilik Natsili/Aivilik Aivilik Aivilik/Arctic Quebec Aivilikf/Kivallirmiutun Kivallirmiutun Kivallirmiutun Kivallirmiutun North Baffin North Baffin North BaffinfArctic Quebec North Baffin/Arctic Quebec North Baffin mixed North Baffin North Baffin/South Baffin South Baffin South Baffin South Baffin/North Baffin South Baffin South Baffin Arctic Quebec Aklavik (Aklarvik) Inuvik (Inuuvik) Tuktoyaktuk (Tuktuujaqtuuq) Sachs Harbour (Ikaasuk) Paulatuk (Paulatuuq) Holman Island (Ulukhaqtuuq) Coppermine (Qurluqtuq) Bay Chimo (Umingmaktuuq) Cambridge Bay (Iqaluktuuttiaq) Gjoa Haven (Uqsuqtuuq) Spence Bay (Talurjuat) Pelly Bay (Arviligjuaq) Repulse Bay (Naujat) Chesterfield Inlet (Igluligarjuk) Coral Harbour (Sagliq) Rankin Inlet (Kangiqliniq) Baker Lake (Qamanittuaq) Whale Cove (Tikirarjuaq) Eskimo Point (Arviat) Hall Beach (Samirajaq) Igloolik (Iglulik) Resolute Bay (Qausuittuq) Grise Fiord (Ausuittuq) Arctic Bay (Ikpiarjuk) Nanisivik (Strathcona Sound) Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik) Clyde River (Kangiqtugaapik) Broughton Island (Qikiqtajuaq) Pangnirtung (Pangniqtuuq) Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay) Lake Harbour (Kingmiruk) Cape Dorset (Kinngait) Sanikiluaq (Belcher Islands) Total Northwest Territories 705 3.

395 690 75 305 85 45 55 170 1. 1984. Dorais.070 660 745 255 195 480 230 145 270 100 80 805 150 7.560 Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Arctic Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec Quebec 935 240 425 345 270 490 6. 1985.425 Labrador Labrador Labrador Labrador Labrador Labrador Labrador 1. Newfoundland-Labrador and Manitoba) Inuit Ethnic Origin Language Group Affiliation(s) Settlement Arctic Quebec Chisasibi (Mailasikkut) Kuujjuaraapik (Great Whale River) Inukjuak (Inujjuaq) Povungnituk (Puvirnituq) Akulivik (Akullivik) Ivujivik Salluit (Saglouc. .305 10 Aivilik Sources: Robitaille and Choinière. Sugluk) Kangiqsujuaq (MaricourtWakeham Bay) Quaqtaq (Koartac) Kangirsuk (Bellin-Payne Bay) Aupaluk Tasiujaq (Baie aux Feuilles) Kuuijuaq (Fort Chimo) Kangiqsualujjuaq (George River) Total Arctic Quebec Labrador Nain (Naini) Davis Inlet (Ukkusitsalik) Hopedale Makkovik (Maquuvik) Rigolet (Tikiraqsuarusik) Northwest River Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Vaali) Total Labrador Manitoba Churchill (Kuugjuaraaluk) Total Population 2.192 Louis-Jacques Dorais TABLE 3 Inuit Nunangat settlements in 1981 (Quebec.405 45 630 645 735 255 195 465 220 140 260 100 70 660 140 4.220 1.690 9.

6 86. Uummarmiutun (‘like the people living where there is vegetation’) was still spoken.425 21. as one moves in an easterly direction. If only 25.4 per cent of all Inuit speak Uummarmiutun and Siglitun. Labrador Inuttut.4 per cent and 16.2 per cent of speakers.150 3.5 Osgoode.815 5. . There follows a description of the ten Canadian dialects. the easternmost Canadian dialect.900 2.690 1.1 81. 1976 193 Total Number of Speakers Number of Percentage of Inuit Ethnic Origin Inuktitut Speakers 175 215 585 1. In the Western Arctic.0 91. for instance. the rate of language retention .4 34. 1984. akin to the North Slope Inupiaq dialect:* * In this chapter Inupiaq and Inupiat are written with a palatized n' as pronounced in the North Alaskan dialect group’ (see Kaplan. With only 44. As we shall see below in the section on the contemporary language situation.5 92.2 76.3 79.is somewhat lower (60 per cent > than in the native territory. Coral Harbour.825 875 2. the rate of preservation of Inuktitut as a first language is higher in areas where intensive contacts with the outside world are more recent.4 16. it tends to increase. in 1981. This indicates that among the 3. the language is spoken only by some middle-aged and elderly people who led a traditional land-oriented life in their youth. Robitaille and Choiniere. an Alaskan speech form.100 3. Generally speaking. It is. 1983.440 2.070 5.160 630 16.240 1.8 44. 96. by about 175 people (out of a total of 690) living in the Mackenzie Delta communities of Aklavik and Inuvik.450 25. This rate of retention varies greatly from one dialect to another.940 people living outside Inuit nunangat.or preservation of Inuktitut as a mother tongue . origin.245 1.The Canadian Inuit and their Language TABLE 4 Distribution of language groups in Inuit Nuuangat (1981) Speakers’ Language Group Uummarmiutun Siglitun Inuinnaqtun Natsiiik Kivallirmiutun Aivilik North Baffin South Baffin Arctic Quebec Labrador Total Sources: Dorais.8 per cent of Arctic Quebec natives use their own dialect (this ratio includes the users of the Arctic Quebec dialect who reside in Sanikiluaq. is an exception in that part of the Arctic.310 1. page 136).330 1.7 96. Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord).420 and 1985. in fact. have Inuktitut as their mother tongue (the language they first learned and still understand). 690 1.

this dialect differs in many instances from both its western (Uummarmiutun and Alaskan Inupiaq) and eastern (Inuinnaqtun) neighbours. Its vocabulary and phonological. they have all but replaced the original population (and language group). it has suffered severely from linguistic contacts with the outside world and is now spoken by only 43 per cent of all those of Inuit ethnic origin living in the area. and grammatical structures make it unique in Canada. see also Savoie. Others. Like its two western neighbours. In this last settlement. The ten or so Inuit living in Churchill (Manitoba) in 1981 are also Aivilik. Quite peculiar in form. and in particular at Repulse Bay. and along the coast of Hudson Bay. These have migrated to Southampton Island. Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island and Coppermine and Bay Chimo on the mainland. In the twentieth century.194 Louis-Jacques Dorais The Uummarmiut dialect varies in many respects from other Canadian Eskimo dialects. and. which is a sub-dialect of North Baffin rather than a dialect suigeneris. Kiuallirmiutun (like the people of Keewatin’) is spoken in Baker Lake. The linguistic data tend to indicate that the majority of these people originated in the Anaktuvuk Pass area. Siglitun (like the Siglit people’) was spoken in 1981 by 215 persons in the communities of Inuvik (Mackenzie Delta). the Aiuilik (‘where there is walrus’). Natsilik (‘where there are seals’) was originally spoken around Chantrey Inlet and Pelly Bay. Eskimo Point. was still spoken then by 875 people. This speech form. morphological. Most of these people originally lived inland where their mainstay was caribou meat (hence one of their former .825 speakersin 1981). Linguists were astonished to discover in the early 1980s that it was still spoken by about 16 per cent of Mackenzie Coast Inuit (Dorais and Lowe. on the western coast of Hudson Bay (1. Whale Cover. in the Central Arctic. Rankin Inlet. 1970). partly. came from various places along the Alaskan North Slope (Lowe. 1984. opposite their original territory. it was later considered by the scientific community to have totally disappeared due to epidemics and migration at the beginning of this century.240 speakers in 1981) are found in four communities: Gjoa Haven. Spence Bay. 1982). to the villages of Chesterfield Inlet and Rankin Inlet. Inuinaqtun (like the real Inuit’) was spoken in 1981 by 585 persons on the Arctic Coast. by people (known to anthropologists as Copper Inuit) living in the following settlements: Holman Island (where it is known as Kangiryuarmiutun). in Central Arctic. many Natsilik people have moved across Rae Isthmus to the northern waters of Hudson Bay. Contemporary speakers of this dialect are actually descendants of people who migrated from Alaska to Canada at the beginning of this century. 1876. xv). less numerous. Nowadays. p. the Natsilik (1. Recorded as early as 1876 by the French missionary Emile Petitot (Petitot. Pelly Bay and Repulse Bay. Tuktoyaktuk and Paulatuk (Mackenzie Coast) and Sachs harbour (Banks Island). at the base of Boothia Peninsula. where they are in the majority.

It is not appropriate to describe here the specific characteristics of each dialect. at Igloolik and its southern neighbour Hall Beach and. Iqaluit). Pangnirtung. Local populations often distinguish between the South-east Baffin sub-dialect (spoken in Lake Harbour. With about 630 speakers in 1981. Iqaluit. and in Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay). They share their territory with Naskapi and Montagnais Indians. partly. only one of their communities. in this area of Inuit nunangat lying within the Province of Quebec.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 195 names: Caribou Eskimos).160 people spoke this dialect. North Baffin. 1977). Local populations distinguish between two sub-dialects: Tarramiut (Kuujjuaq and north-eastern Arctic Quebec) and Itivimiut (eastern shore of Hudson Bay). Clyde River) and the Southwest Baffin speech form (Cape Dorset and. All in all. do not differ much from one area to another. to the Belcher Islands (village of Sanikiluaq). although not exactly the same. Natsilik and Kivallirmiutun) and Eastern Inuktitut (Aivilik. Some Quebec Inuit also reside in Iqaluit. Arctic Quebec and Labrador). in the village of Nain and. The North Baffin dialect is spoken (by 2. in 1981. Baker Lake. Broughton Island and. it is actually . The Labrador dialect. long-term residents of European origin (the Settlers) and newcomers from Newfoundland and the rest of Canada. as its name indicates. Fortescue (1985) and Dorais (1986) have concluded that the Canadian dialects should be divided into two broad categories: Western Inuktitun (Siglitun. two authors. in the south-eastern quarter of Hudson Bay. The Arctic Quebec dialect is spoken. As we have seen. Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord. it was then known by less than half the total local Inuit population. Southampton Island (village of Coral Harbour). On the respective bases of percentage of shared affixes and phonological features. Inuinnaqtun. in use in Rigolet. in six more communities south of it. Known for over a century-the first dictionary of Labrador Inuttut was published by Erdman in 1864 . The South Baffin dialect is spoken (by 2. the main administrative centre of the Eastern Canadian Arctic. at different periods. in Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord (High Arctic Islands). Arctic Quebec speakers have also emigrated. which stands out because of its archaic features (Dorais. This is due to the fact that northern and central Labrador is the only part of lnuit nunungut where people of Inuit ethnic origin constitute a minority. through migration. or Labrador Inuttut. does not lie on the seacoast. sporadically. about 5. Let us simply observe that the main differences between them concerns phonology (pronunciation) and affixes (speech-parts which follow the basic element -or radical -of the word).900 persons in 1981) on the northern half of Baffin Island. South Baffin. Nowadays.this dialect includes a peculiar form.815 persons in 1981) on the southern half of Baffin Island. The grammar and vocabulary. Uummarmiutun stands apart. following migrations in the 1950s and 1960s. is spoken on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. the most important-numerically speaking -in Canada.

D. although between the Eastern and Western forms it is more problematic. 1984). even if one Greenlandic dialect. another wave of people from Alaska later to be called the Dorset culture -had entered Canada and had settled over most of its Arctic and-in some cases . They were particularly expert at sea-mammal hunting.000-year isolation from the Norton and Birnirk populations of Alaska..000 to 3. Some 2. As they progressed relatively rapidly.C. began to migrate along the coast of the Arctic Ocean toward what was to become the Canadian Arctic. small bands of hunters originating in northern Alaska. p. Examples are given in the section on phonology and grammar below. They and the later arrivals were from the same original stock: an Asian population which had migrated to Alaska between 9000 and 8000 B. It seems that their migration may have been triggered by the increasing availability (due to climatic changes) of whales in the Central Arctic (McGhee. These hunters were not the first inhabitants of the northern regions.sub-Arctic sections. this situation is a result of prehistoric migrations. while Eastern Inuktitut is much more innovative. to the south-east. that of Thule. 369). Within each group of dialects .particularly in Eastern Inuktitut . but: The Dorset people. belongs to the Alaskan Inupiaq group. In fact. it took them one or two centuries to occupy most of the area lying between the Mackenzie Delta.196 Louis-Jacques Dorais linked to the North Slope dialect and. Western Inuktitun is characterized by conservative phonological and grammatical features. the newcomers -whom archeologists call the Thule people possessed a far more advanced technology than their predecessors. for this reason. With Greenland too. they had . must have spoken a different dialect. the ancestors of the present-day Inuit. mutual comprehension is difficult. followed different social customs. knowing how to build kayaks (one-man skin boats). is relatively close to the Central Arctic dialects (Inuinnaqtun and Natsilik). On entering the Canadian Arctic.000 years earlier. in the north-west. As we shall now see. 1984. Traditional Culture and History of the Canadian Inuit Prehistoric Migrations About 1000 A.. and certainly had a different technology and economic adaptation from that of their Alaskan relatives (McGhee. developing in an apparent 3. and Labrador.intercomprehension between each individual speech form is possible.

and to have crossed Hudson Strait (which joins the Atlantic Ocean with Hudson Bay) toward the northern tip of Labrador. whose last vestiges date back to 1400 A.or Thule . even if their present territory lies outside the principal axis of migrations.the stone and sod hut . they mixed with people who had gone through the Igloolik route. This explains why they speak a main-trend Western Inuktitun dialect. Other groups seem to have bypassed the present-day Iqaluit area. This would explain why. from a grammatical point of view.to the northernmost islands of the Canadian Arctic: Devon and Ellesmere. but there is no absolute evidence. . survived in the legends of the present-day Canadian Inuit who have a lot to tell about the Tuniit (or Tunrit ). they gathered in villages of a smaller size. n. however. In some areas. the better to adapt to their new environment.passing north of present-day Cambridge Bay . Labrador Inuttut shows a morphology of affixes more akin to that of the North Baffin dialect than to the Arctic Quebec speech form. those tall human beings. From the north Arctic islands.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 197 also been able to modify some social patterns. This explains why. until then used only as a temporary travel shelter. and why Northwestern . the Thule people completely eliminated the Dorset population.). in areas where the yearly catch of whales was inferior to what it had been in northern Alaska. as phonological evidence seems to suggest.Greenlandic is quite close to Natsilik and Inuinnaqtun (Fortescue. The Dorset have. probably migrated there from the Arctic Ocean (Inuinnaqtun and Natsilik areas) in the not too distant past. strong but stupid. Another migration route went along the eastern coast of Baffin Island. The Kivallirmiut people. thence.to replace it by the snowhouse.d. From this last. the Greenlandic dialects are more akin to Western Inuktitun than to other Canadian Inuit speech forms. in central Labrador. south-west Baffin and Arctic Quebec. Some of the migrants settled in south-eastern Baffin where. who were ever the butt of Inuit cunning and practical jokes. For example. they went down the Atlantic coast eventually reaching Hamilton Inlet. Because of their superior technology. some Thule people entered Greenland by its north-west corner. who now live on the west coast of Hudson Bay. Archaeological and linguistic evidence shows that the main migration route east of the Mackenzie Delta led through Victoria Island . secondary migrations led to the Igloolik area and. to the Aivilik region. despite some rather peculiar features. It is possible that small Dorset groups remained on some Hudson Bay islands (mainly Southampton and Belcher) until the eighteenth or early nineteenth centuries.D. they also abandoned the traditional winter dwelling . From there.

Hunting. each standing beside an individual hole (aglu ). and this at all three levels of social organization: economical. If patches of ice-free water were found not too far from the camp. a harpoon (unuaq ) was immediately thrust at it. 1929). If the animal was very heavy . The only means of transportation was the sled (qamutiik ) pulled by a team of dogs. Late nineteenth and early twentieth century ethnographers described in some detail the principal elements of this culture. The wait could be long. the Copper (Inuinnaqtun speakers) of the Arctic Coast (Jenness. the Caribou Kivallirmiutun (Birket-Smith. From an economic point of view. working at flensing animals already caught.198 Traditional Culture Louis-Jacques Dorais From the eleventh century on. at a period when it was not yet too strongly influenced by European contact. For an up-to-date description and appraisal of the traditional culture of the Canadian Inuit. Usually a number of hunters would go together. In Arctic Quebec and . 1984). 1922).e. Yet despite their surface diversity. It will be seen that it was particularly well-adapted to Arctic conditions. such as looking after the sealoil stone lamp (qulliq). This means that by the time of the first important contacts with Europeans (eighteenth and nineteenth centuries). In winter. the Natsilik (Rasmussen. 1894) and the Labrador Inuit (Hawkes. traditional Inuit society may be characterized as based on a hunting-gathering mode of production. another technique consisted of waiting there for seals.some species of seals weigh up to half a ton-the other hunters rushed to help haul it up onto the ice. upon entering written history. the Arctic Quebec people (Turner. 1876). D. they were subdivided into eight or nine groups. all these Inuit tribes still shared a common cultural and linguistic background. Vol. 1888). one should consult the ‘Canadian Arctic’ section of the Handbook of North American Indians. corresponding approximately to present-day dialectal divisions. juridical and ideological. the men came back to the camp. 1929). fishing and gathering activities were adapted to each season of the year. where the women had waited since morning. the men used to wait for seals at their breathing holes (i. the holes the animals maintain in the sea-ice in order to be able to breathe). Arctic (ed. and reindeer-herding never developed. After a day’s work. 1931). the Thule people progressively diversified their culture in order to adapt to each of the local sectors of the Canadian Arctic. From west to east these classical ethnographies deal with the Siglit of the Mackenzie Delta and Coast (Petitot. the Igloolik North Baffin speakers (Rasmussen. the South Baffin Inuit (Boas. sewing the family’s skin clothes and doing other domestic chores. When a seal appeared. 5. Damas. but they had to remain watchful. We shall briefly describe here the main features of this culture as it existed in the Eastern Arctic (Baffin Island and Arctic Quebec). 1916). The climate and environment prevented any attempt at agriculture.

whales or seals at the breathing hole were community tasks. both geographically and socially. or. while the women busied themselves fishing. family heads and shamans (i.seals were hunted as they basked in the sun (uuttuq ) on the sea-ice or.e. The social relations of production were egalitarian. The traditional Inuit lived in small family-based groups . It was a collective undertaking. The gifted hunters. no surplus was ever accumulated. Resources being scarce and hard to obtain. when their offense was particularly serious. in summertime. Individual persons or families often moved from one location to another. from the seashore utaqqivik ). At the end of the season. The sea was now almost completely free of ice and the men went hunting in their one-man crafts or kayaks (qajaq). Spring rapidly turned to summer. Throughout the year. gathering berries or shells with the children. walrus. later in the season.or bands numbering between 20 and 200 people.as well as fishing and bird hunting . Social and juridical order was maintained by systematically avoiding offenders. secondly. The families then abandoned the winter igloos or stone houses and moved to other locations where they lived in skin tents (tupiq). whales. such groupings were very mobile. As in winter.which in those latitudes begins in June . they spent two or three weeks hunting caribou. All the skins needed for new sets of winter clothes were obtained in this fashion. Once inland. while hunting caribou. joining or leaving their friends and relatives at will. Approaching basking seals on the sea-ice or hunting in kayaks . Larger aggregates would not have been functional in an Arctic environment. the women rowing upriver in their large skin boats. according to the season or the occasion. The technical relations of production involved either individual or collective processes. the Mackenzie Delta. or. Naturally enough. most of the animals caught were distributed in two stages: firstly among the hunters present at the catch and. There were no state bodies. Normally. the men also hunted birds. much more rarely. Greenland and Alaska) they still used the Thule stone and sod hut (qarmaq ) . by collectively .were individual activities. while the men followed in their kayaks. Gathering food and hunting seals from the shore were either individual or group activities. to everyone who needed food or skins. or umiaks (umiaq ). when the landfast ice was disappearing. nor even formal political organizations such as chieftains or group councils. but in north Baffin (as well as in Labrador. During the spring . whole families left the seashore. Finally. fall was the season for walrus hunting in umiaks. they used the harpoon to catch seals or. persons able to communicate with the spirits) acted as natural leaders.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 199 South Baffin Island. The women and children made a good deal of noise in order to frighten the animals into running towards the men waiting for them with their bows (pitiksi ) and spears (anguuigaq) . the historic Inuit lived in houses called igluvigaq. made of snow blocks with an entrance tunnel (the famous igloo). Only in periods of severe shortage did these rules not apply.

bad weather or famine. to relieve its thirst. the Inuit knew . would tell other seals about the good reception it had enjoyed. more rarely. Various myths. Animals were treated with respect. The principal interpreter and manipulator of cosmic forces was the shaman (angakkuq). often told or sung during winter night performances in the qaggiq (or qadjgiq). Even if their existence was generally very hard. Personal vengeance was also common. When a seal was caught. He . People believed that its soul. she . taboos and rituals ensured that things happened as they should. which he summoned when there was a need. It was very important to ensure that both man and game animals renewed their effective forces from one generation to the other. It was composed of various types of stories and songs. To communicate with them. i. Rasmussen published a list of shamanistic words from Igloolik in 1929. Oral Literature The traditional Inuit did not use any writing system. They also shared moments of joy and pleasure when they played.or. It includes such items as: uqsuralik kumaruaq aipat auviraksaq inaaqtuq quatsiaq ‘the one which is covered with fat’ ‘one like a louse’ ‘half-cooked food ‘which may be used as a frame’ ‘finishes something’ ‘which is stiff polar bear caribou meat the bones he/she sings a child All these beliefs and rituals hadideological functions. He was helped in this task by his familiar spirit or spirits (tuurngaq). . both human and animal. fresh water was poured into its mouth. when returning to the sea. sang or listened to myths and tales. thus rendering it a little more bearable. to explain why the world was the way it was.and the shaman helped them remember .e.that life could and should reproduce itself.intervened when the natural harmony of the world was disturbed because of illness. but they possessed an extensive oral literature handed down from generation to generation. For instance. thus ensuring the continuation of generations. the community ceremonial igloo. it was commonly believed that the name a child received at birth permitted the individual(s) who had borne this name before to live again through him or her. thus encouraging them to become prey to the hunters.200 Louis-Jacques Dorais agreeing on their physical suppression. he used a special metaphorical language. The system of beliefs and symbols was centred on the reproduction of life.

The latter increased in number and the woman proceeded to plant them out in different places. daylight stepped out of continuous darkness. man and the animal world. is above all interested in explaining how order has been progressively brought to an initially confused and disorganized universe. is a legend or myth (the Inuit make no distinction between the two> that is either fictional or else -like the Tuniit stories . who respectively became the sun and the moon. shamanism. Inuit mythology. etc. death. Lumuajuq. In this way. and many more. generally relating events that are recent or occurred in the not too distant past. All these characters have a lot to tell about the philosophy of the . Qallunaat (Europeans). 1925) and Rasmussen (1929). but even these suppose that humanity already existed before it was divided into sub-groups. and thanks to the help of polar bears. (1979). Some unforgettable characters arise out of these myths and tales: Kaujjaarjuk. the different countries were populated (Jenness. Uinigunasuittuq. But no myth attempts to explain how the world and humanity came into existence. 1985). the harsh mother. How. and so forth. for example. how a sexually undifferentiated humanity divided into men and women. the girl and her incestuous brother. At the beginning of time there were no men and only a single woman who mated with a dog and bore therefrom a litter of dogs and human beings. The so-called aetiological myths tell about the origin of various aspects of the universe we know: daylight. 1924. 72d). Records and cassettes oftraditional Inuit music are also available (for an upto-date overview. instead of telling about the creation of the world. how ethnic and racial diversity appeared. while still others became Eskimos. see Nattiez. A considerable part of it has appeared in more recent anthologies such as those of Metayer (1972). who was transformed into a narwhal. Jenness (1922. or Pelinski et al. was later drowned by her father and became Sanna (‘the one down there’).The Canadian Inuit and their Language 201 Much of this oral literature was later collected by ethnographers such as Boas (1888). the girl who married her dog. but was able ultimately. the poor orphan. giants and dwarfs. aetiological myths.is set in the distant past. whom shamans must visit when hunting is poor. Some in one place became white men. An unikkausiq. to take revenge on his tormentors. In his 1924 anthology. it may be referred to as a unikkausinnguaq (‘an imitation of unikkausiq ). some animal species. others in another place Indians. Jenness uses the following divisions: bird and animal stories. As we have already seen. There are tales accounting for the advent of human races: the Inuit. Indians. Eastern Canadian Inuit distinguishes between two types of tales: unikkaatuuq and unikkausiq. who was treated like a dog. Myth no. Nungak and Arima (1969). quasihistorical traditions. If one wishes to highlight the imaginary aspect of a tale. The former is a long story. 1924. Ethnographers have subdivided Inuit unikkausiit into various categories. for its part. her long braided hair becoming the tusk borne by this species of whale. the mistress of sea mammals.

Queen Elizabeth I gave the man permission to hunt royal swans on the Thames (Oswalt. sometimes mixed with a few sung verses -found elsewhere in the world. irinaliurutit or magical songs. would take turns at singing ironical songs of their composition in order to make fun of their opponent. remained practically unchanged until the arrival of European explorers. 32). Some myths are organized in cycles which may be compared to epic poems-although all Inuit tales are in prose. There they had frequent contacts. Between 1700 and 1760. an English navigator with three ships. The Baffin people. Contacts with Europeans This system of technical notions. p. badly treated children will finally punish their tyrants. illukitaarutit or juggling songs. In London. entered the bay that now bears his name on Baffin Island. Sir Martin Frobisher. uttered simultaneously by two women facing each other. 1979. In 1577. traders. a man. Viking explorers from Iceland and Greenland met people there whom they called skraelinger. he kidnapped three Inuit. that Europeans became really interested in trading with the Inuit. and so on. a woman and a child. however. i. language played a primordial part in expressing traditional philosophy and preserving social order. brothers and sisters should not have sexual intercourse. either Dorset people or Beothuk Indians. French merchants from Quebec City maintained semi-permanent fishing stations on the north shore of the Gulf of Saint-Lawrence. missionaries and administrators. These may be divided into different categories: pisiit or hunter songs: composed by men about their hunting and other life experiences. often in an ironic mood. They were followed by many others. etc. Two strong men. with Labrador Inuit. and brought them back to England. Through oral literature.e. then. tell many stories about Kiviuq. It was not until the eighteenth century. The loser was the one who finally abandoned the contest when he was no longer capable of ridiculing the other. for instance. the oral literature of the Canadian Inuit includes hundreds of songs. beliefs and symbols. social values. Near present-day Iqaluit. aqausiit or lullabies for children. katajjait or throat games: words and sounds coming from the throat. generally informal leaders of their respective bands. A few of them . Some songs were performed during the so-called singing duels which took place from time to time. specially in Arctic Quebec. welladapted to Arctic life. hostile or peaceful. Besides stories and myths. for instance. a folk hero to whom many feats are attributed. The first recorded encounter between white people and Canadian natives took place in northern Newfoundland in the early eleventh century.202 Louis-Jacques Dorais traditional Inuit.

1980). school and store. by deporting a man’s co-wives to other areas.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 203 even noted down short Inuktitut word-lists. but European goods slowly began making their way into Inuit nunangat. which. together with the few terms recorded by Frobisher 150 years earlier. The first Europeans to settle permanently among the Canadian Inuit were missionaries belonging to the Moravian Brethren. most Canadian Inuit had been drawn into the capitalist mode of production. each with a Moravian church. and often very hostile. Crowe. closed in 1959). at the southern fringe of Inuit territory. a Protestant church based in Germany. the British traders of the Hudson Bay Company (founded in 1670) tried to extend the Indian fur trade further north. From 1904 on. closed in 1956). had progressively begun to set up residence in the area. The nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed continuous European penetrationinto Znuit nunangat. e.g. rituals and oral literature by Christian faith.was ruled. by European and Canadian merchants established in Montreal. Oswalt. As a result of these events. At the beginning of the twentieth century. now based on commercial hunting (with guns) and trapping-rather than being autarkic . They established bases in Churchill and Little Whale River (near present-day Kuujjuaraapik) on both sides of Hudson Bay. constitute the first written testimonies of Canadian dialects (Dorais. Even if the Inuit still lived a nomadic life (except in Labrador). etc. the presence of the RCMP in the North ensured a minimum of respect for Canadianlaw and order. 1964. the Hudson Bay Company multipliedits trading posts at the heart of Inuit territory. whalers (Mackenzie Coast and Baffin Island) and fur traders. albeit at some cost to native customs and leadership. New converts were encouraged to settle around the mission. 1979). their dominant social relations were those of petty commodity production. In 1771 Jans Haven and a few companions founded a mission post at Nainin northern Labrador. religious practice and scripture. the Government of Canada cantoned several Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) detachments in the Arctic. for a good part. London or Paris. Hebron (1830. At the same time. all Labrador Inuit were living in permanent sedentarized villages. 1974. Such destruction of traditional Inuit society and culture was accompanied in the ideological field by the efforts of many missionaries who succeeded in replacing aboriginal beliefs. so that by 1875. Details on the history of contacts with Quallunaat may be found elsewhere (Jenness. Some policemen even went so far as to break up polygamous marriages. along with the French concern Revillon Frères and a few independent traders. Inuit shared their territory with European fishermen and trappers (the Settlers) who. Suffice it to say that the explorers were followed by missionaries. by the end of the 193Os. They soon opened other religious centres: Okak (1776. Politically speaking. Hopedale (1782). . Their economy. since the middle of the century. Contacts were sporadic. In some locations.

Before investigating the contemporary history and social conditions of the Inuit. a natsivak (hooded seal). it maybe a natsiq (ringed seal). where it is important to spot instantly the exact location of the game. a qasigiaq (freshwater seal>. With this perspective in mind. the animal’s identification may vary according to age.according to dialect . paani (‘around up there’). For instance. In a totally different domain. etc.localizers (Denny. Thus. In 1925 the Hudson Bay Company moved north-eastern Arctic Quebec trappers to Southampton Island. a puvisuuq (grey seal). there exist no less than twenty-five terms indicating various types of snow (Table 5). which add another dimension to material culture and social rules. Vocabulary. One of the most obvious -and best-known . The importance of hunting also shows itself in the multiplicity of animal names. manni (‘around here’). however. 1981): uvani (‘right here’). social and philosophical knowledge shared by all members of a specific speech community. there exists a direct link between language and cultural identity. The development ofmusk-rat trapping drew some northern Alaskan Inupiat to the Mackenzie Delta. Specialized words and semantic categories constitute very powerful intellectual tools. sending western Arctic Quebec and north Baffin Inuit to Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord in the High Arctic islands. traditional life was already only a memory. In the Arctic Quebec dialect. Epidemics depleted large numbers of the Mackenzie Coast Siglit and Aivilik. culture and identity. in Inuktitut.204 Louis-Jacques Domis These changes were accompanied by important population movements. an ugjuk (bearded seal) may be referred to as . If. the Inuit system of demonstrative pronouns (demonstrative object words) and adverbs (localizers) is much more complex than the one that exists in English and in most other languages. for instance. by the beginning of World War II. Instead of simply opposing ‘here’ and ‘there’. in English. any seal is called a seal. etc. a qairulik (harp seal). Some thirty years later. pikani (‘right up there’). sex and time of year. Such distinctions really befit a hunting culture. So. in particular. Inuktitut as a Factor of Cultural Identity Most anthropologists. sociologists andlinguists agree that language reflects the culture of its speaker.specificities of Inuktitut is the great number of words used to designate snow. the Inuit distinguish ten to fifteen . the Canadian Government acted in kind. an ugjuk (bearded seal). Moreover. one is not surprised to find that Inuktitut contributes to the adaptation process which has permitted the Inuit to survive in an Arctic environment. a word should be said about the relationship between their language. may be considered as a translation of the technical.

etc. 1970 and 1985. expressed through lexemes . The other two divisions of the 24-hour day are.The Canadian Inuit and their Language TABLE 5 The various types of snow in Arctic Quebec Inuktitut 205 qanik qanittaq aputi maujaq masak matsaaq aqilluqaaq sitilluqaq qirsuqaaq kavirisirlaq pukak minguliq natiruvaaq piirturiniq qiqumaaq katakartanaq aumannaq aniu sirmiq illusaq isiriartaq kinirtaq mannguq qannialaaq qanniapaluk Sources: Schneider. Inuktitut reflects basic logical categories which may differ from those in use in other languages. pualulik (between one and two years old). long/short. grass and moss. the vegetal world is underdifferentiated. By contrast. except when it comes to the few useful plants: edible berries or vegetal fuel. etc. which are habitually translated as ‘day’ and ‘evening’. thus. For example. There exists. but which actually correspond to full daylight and to the beginning of the diurnal period of darkness. day/evening. for instance. artuq (adult). in still air tirigluk (less than one year old). The whole zoological vocabulary is very rich. an opposition between the words ulluk and unnuk. compact snow melting snow light falling snow very light falling snow. no distinction being made between flowers and grass.. aviurtuq (rutting male). At a deeper level. avunilik (mother without her baby). saggalak (moulting seal). winter/spring. falling snow recently fallen snow snow on the ground soft snow on the ground wet falling snow half-melted snow on the ground drift of soft snow drift of hard snow re-frozen snow snow rendered rough by rain and freezing crystaline snow on the ground fine coat of powdered snow fine snow carried by the wind thin coat of soft snow deposited on an object snow whose surface is frozen hard crust of snow giving way under footsteps snow ready to melt. on the ground snow for making water melting snow used as cement for the snowhouse snow which can be used for building a snowhouse yellow or reddish falling snow damp. This binary structure appears throughout the language. etc. the Inuit seem to conceive of the universe in which they live as being organized along pairs of opposites: big/small. sujialijjaq (between two and three).

whatever the nature of the pair: two similar objects. This distinction pertains to a more general linguistic phenomenon. ‘accelerated melt’. ‘the small ukiuq’. In Arctic Quebec. Thus. As was the case with the divisions of the day. In the same way. upirngasaq (early spring). proceed from the basic notions of ulluk and unnuk. and tamarmik. a married couple.as distinguished from larger groups . There also exist specific words which express a dyadic . ‘which shall become upirngaaq’.rather than a multilateral . the word aippariik (‘a pair of pair-members’) may cover many translations: a man and his wife. completely different words must be used. and unnuaq (night). two objects that complement each other. a distinction is made between iluunnatik. and upirngaaq. may also mean ‘his wife’ or ‘her husband’. For instance. ‘the small unnuk’. two companions. These derivatives are ullaaq (morning). aujaq (summer). usually translated as ‘the other one’. in their form and original meaning. This produces words such as: panigiik (‘a pair including a daughter’) a daughter with one of her parents. ‘the small ulluk’. because the season it designates generally witnesses the melting of the snow. The term aippanga (‘his/her/its other. in a pair’). Inuktitut commonly uses a special affix (-giik or -riik) to translate the relationship between two persons or objects. In all Canadian Inuit dialects. two persons walking together. dual and plural.206 Louis-Jacques Dorais which. When dealing with more than two elements.relation. This word has been translated as ‘springtime’. but actually it refers to the fact that the summer solstice corresponds to the year’s shortest nights. the time of the year centred upon winter solstice. For example: inuk inuuk inuit iglu igluk (or igluuk) iglut (or igluit) one person two persons three persons or more one house two houses three houses or more . (‘a pair of images’) two things that look alike ajjigiik arnariik (‘a pair including a woman’) a woman with her husband piqatigiik (‘a pair of friends’) two friends together. the lexeme aippaq applies to either member of a pair . ‘all of them’. as in Alaskan (but not in Greenlandic) speech forms. the Arctic natives perceive a fundamental opposition between ukiuq. ‘the two of them’. all other ‘seasons’ are expressed through derivatives: ukiaq (fall). the period revolving around 21 June. etc. there exist three grammatical numbers: singular. Other examples could be given of such a linguistic expression of binarity.

in its integrity. when asked to classify three objects according to their size. then. It is interestingto note that at least one characteristic of this system. as a European child would do. Thus. the linguistic expression of binarity complicates the formulation of some concepts which may seem obvious to speakers of European . the cultural structure has already begun to weaken. For example. it may be seen that Inuktitut possesses an objective value: its very structure and semantic categories reflect a specific logical system. For instance. or. the Inuit will spontaneously distribute any set of elements into two groups. Society and Economy in Arctic Canada Today Contemporary History In some areas of the Canadian Arctic. generally speaking.>. Moreover. The main consequence of all this is that the language of the Inuit. rank them in three groups: large. They will not. on Inutitut may lead to the destruction. in traditional Inuit mythology. a small and a smaller one on the other. So. the progressiveerosion of an original semantic and cognitive structure which. at least. Inuit pupils tend to divide them into two categories: a large object on one side. Used to binary oppositions (small/large.and other languages. middle-sized and small. is necessary to the maintenance of the Arctic people’s collective identity. short/long. contributes to giving the Arctic natives a very original vision of the universe. its binarity. As a reflection of the most basic elements of the Inuit culture and world view. language plays a prominent part in building the Inuit cultural identity at its deepest level. all the Inuit have long been more or less forcefully dragged into the dominant social and economic system. . etc.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 207 tulugaq tulukkak (or tulugaak) tulukkat (or tulugait) kamak kammak (or kamiik) kamngit (or kamiit) one raven two ravens three ravens or more one boot two boots three boots or more This means that binarity is considered important enough to require the usage of its own grammatical category. Any attack. As shown above. The disappearance or weakening of such a structure would have unfortunate and far-reaching consequences for Inuit individuals and communities. The notion of middle term is one of these. the preservation and development of Inuktitut is far from being a mere sentimental matter. also reveals itself. because of its peculiar semantic and grammatical structures. as we have seen.

and the free-handedness of their personnel. Churchill. They congregated at trading posts once or twice a year. Seekingjob opportunities or material benefits. From 1942 on. In 1947 other radio and meteorological outposts arose in the High Arctic.though not autarkic . Knowledge was still directly transmitted from father to son and mother to daughter without any formal schooling. many native families settled down in the vicinity of these stations. (ibid. 72-3). The allied effort in Europe required the establishment of a staging route. 73). and radio and meteorological stations sprang up to speed the military planes from one staging post to another. and two long-range navigation stations. Until the Second World War. their very proximity to Eskimo settlements. accordingly. however. their overflowing supplies of every conceivable commodity. centring upon an all-weather airstrip in Resolute Bay. but their basic activities were autonomous . This event deeply affected Inuit life in the Canadian North. of the actual numbers ofworkers the air-bases engaged. most Canadian Inuit still led a nomadic life.. from Tuktoyaktuk (north of Inuvik) to Cape Dyer (north-east of Iqaluit). carried belated ripples of the war into Canada’s Western Arctic (Jenness.208 LouisJacques Dorais Christian ideology has almost completely replaced their aboriginal world view. Southampton Island. Such a route passed through the Eastern Arctic. This trend continued through the early 1950s with the establishment of two complexes of early-warning radar stations in the Arctic: the MidCanada Line and the DEW Line. fishing and trapping. . The war and post-war years were to change all those conditions. at least. If the former reached Inuit territory in Arctic Quebec (Great Whale River) and Labrador only. 1964. however. Fort Chimo (Kuujjuaq) and Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit): Thereafter dozens of ships steamed northward each summer to supply the new airbases with food. slowly at first and more rapidly after the start of the 1950s. air force bases were. pp. in order to seek employment in unskilled or semi-skilled jobs or. Many natives moved to the bases. They spent winters in snowhouses and summers in canvas-rather than skin-tents. built at the fringe or right at the heart of Inuit nunangat: Goose Bay. p. one at Cambridge Bay and the other at Kittigazuit in the Mackenzie River delta.and consisted of hunting. fuel and other necessities. the latter went right through Inuit nunangat. in order that American airplanes could reach British airports. except in a few circumscribed areas such as Labrador and the Mackenzie Delta where Christian missionaries were operating boarding or day schools. profoundly affected the outlook of the local inhabitants and modified the pattern of their economy. to receive handouts from the military: Irrespective.

unskilled and part-time. in larger agglomerations. Moreover. Thus. where the snow-house/ tent type of habitation had rapidly been replaced by makeshift wood and cardboard shacks. Accordingly. except for some welfare goods in time of famine and. sedentarization had already begun ten years before. In the late 195Os. elementary schools were opened in all population centres of the Arctic. family allowances. after 1945. Resource surveys were completed and the Department of Northern Affairs concluded that it was more convenient to group all Inuit in a few settled communities than to continue with a partly nomadic life. so-called northern service and welfare officers were dispatched to all districts in order to supervise the economic development and improvement of living conditions of the Inuit population. In fact. housing facilities. This explains why. Things were to change.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 209 But of greater consequence. a population which maintained almost no contacts with the rest of the country. These new living conditions had profound economic. a few detachments of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police still constituted the only official presence in the Arctic. with the improvement of health conditions. the . perhaps. as early as 1960. far from southern cities and towns. were awarded to those families willing to move to more definitive locations. was the widespread interest for the North that now arose. social and cultural effects. hunting. Between 1948 and 1963. sending persons suffering from tuberculosis or other serious diseases to southern hospitals. government initiatives merely consecrated and hastened an already on-going process. Canadian and international public opinion suddenly discovered that there lived. At the end of the Second World War. in the shape of prefabricated wooden huts. administrative headquarters. nursing stations. than the mere fact of EuroAmerican settlement in the Arctic. Jobs were few and. In the smaller settlements. medical teams visited each location at least once a year. Because of the lack of economic alternatives. generally. The schools. fishing and trapping still constituted the mainstay of the local economy. virtually all Inuit families were living in year-round communities rather than as nomads on the land. the Moravian educational system was transferred to the provincial authorities. Recognizing its responsibility in the late 1940s. natural resources were not plentiful enough to meet the needs of the entire population. but. trading posts and even missions had become the core of permanent villages. The government opened hospitals in Inuvik. the Federal Government began delivering educational. and existing missionary schools were gradually handed down to the Department of Northern Affairs. Iqaluit and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Nursing stations were also built and nurses stationed in the principal settlements. many people had to rely on government welfare. From 1949 on. and which received virtually no service from the Government. medical and developmental services to the Inuit. When Newfoundland-Labrador joined the Canadian Confederation in 1949.


Louis-Jacques Domis

population began to grow very rapidly (it still doubles every twenty years), which increased the employment problem. The development of a market for Inuit art, as well as the creation of cooperatives, only partly eased the economic difficulties. Naturally enough, this situation led to all kinds of social problems: alcoholism, petty criminal offences and a widening gap between the older, more traditional, generation and the younger people brought up in the villages, etc. But the main obstacle lay in the dependency which now characterized Inuit social relations. The Arctic natives had no say in the matter of their living conditions and the development of their economy. All their medical, educational, material and social needs were catered for by benevolent, but autocratic, civil servants. All decisions regarding their present and future were taken in Ottawa, without them even being consulted. They had become completely dependent upon the Canadian economic and political establishment. In the cultural field, the picture was no better. Most government authorities agreed that the Inuit way of life was antiquated and ill-adjusted to modern conditions. If they wanted to survive in the twentieth century, the Arctic natives had to change into average Canadians. This was to be done through formal education. Northern schools adopted the Ontario curriculum and Inuit pupils were introduced to trees, cows and trains, even if none existed in their country. In these conditions, there was no question of teaching Inuktitut. English was the only permissible language in the circumstances. By the mid-1960s, Inuit society and culture were at their lowest. Even an otherwise sensible and knowledgeable anthropologist such as Diamond Jenness was not ashamed to declare:
They (the Inuit) are a fragmented amorphous race that lacks all sense of history, inherits no pride of ancestry, and discerns no glory in past events or past achievements.. . Now at last, they are emerging; but with their long background of fragmentation it seems to me very doubtful that any school instruction, or any educational ‘propaganda’, can revive their drooping morale, or save their language from extinction -if in the end extinction is to be its fate (Jenness, 1964, p. 1‘28).

Present-day Situation
Had he lived a little longer, Jenness would probably have been surprised to learn that twenty years after he had published these lines, the situation of the Canadian Inuit would be completely different to what he had expected. In 1984, far from being a ‘fragmented amorphous race’, without any sense of history or ethnic pride, the Arctic natives considered that they constituted a specific nation within Canada, a nation possessing inalienable territorial, political, social and cultural rights.

The Canadian Inuit and their Language


How had this come about? How had the various Inuit bands and local groups of the 1950s and 1960s developed a sense of pan-Inuit identity and solidarity that went far beyond their immediate surroundings? Keith Crowe, a former federal civil servant who was actively involved in land claim settlements, attributes this process of ethnic awakening to four interwoven factors (Crowe, 1979, p. 32): 1. the growth of the native voice in Canada, as part of world-wide sensitization to minority rights; 2. the maturation of the first wave of school-educated northern natives; 3. concern for the environment and wildlife, threatened by various projects (such as the Mackenzie Valley pipeline or the James Bay hydro-electric development project); and 4. the example of native claim settlements in Alaska and southern Canada. One could add to these some regional factors, such as the political competition, in northern Quebec, between Federal and Provincial Governments. This struggle to gain administrative control over that part of the Arctic reached its peak in the late 1960s. One of its side effects was to give the Quebec Inuit a very acute awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the Canadian political situation. Nor should we forget, as a factor of change, the phenomenal development everywhere in the Arctic of air transport and electronic communications. What specialists will probably consider, some day, as a new era in the history of the Canadian Inuit began in 1970 with the creationin the Western Arctic (at Inuvik) of the Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement (COPE). First representing the interests of all north-western native people, it gradually centred its focus and activities on the Mackenzie Delta and Coast Inuvialuit because resource development and exploration were very active in this region (Vallee et al., 1984). In 1978, COPE reached an agreement-in-principle with the Federal Government overland claims, and this was ratified six years later in 1984, In 1971, two more associations were established: Inuit Tapirsat of Canada (ITC) and the Northern Quebec Inuit Association (NQIA). The first represented all Canadian Inuit, while the second was concerned with Quebec affairs. In 1972, NQIA representatives travelled to Nain in order to inquire whether the Labrador Inuit would be interested in establishing a regional association. Following further contacts with ITC officers, the Labrador Inuit Association was founded in October 1973 (Brantenberg and Brantenberg, 1984). In 1975, it agreed to include the Settlers (old stock of European dwellers inits membership. LIA then sponsored aland-use study (Brice-Bennett, 1977) and started negotiating with both the Newfoundland and Federal Governments. In early 1986, they had not yet reached a land claims settlement.


Louis-Jacques Dorais

At the national level, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada are now recognized as the sole representatives of Canadian Inuit. By virtue of this status, they send delegates to the international Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) and its sub-committees. Over the years, ITC has given birth to various regional organizations and special purpose corporations. The first comprise the Qitirmiut Inuit Association (representing the Arctic Coast Inuinnaqtun people), the Keewatin Inuit Association (western Hudson Bay) and the Baffin Region Inuit Association. The Labrador Inuit Association, the Makivik Corporation (which, as we shall see, has now replaced the Northern Quebec Inuit Association) and COPE have also joined ITC as regional components (Vallee et al., 1984). The special purpose corporations include the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), the Inuit Development Corporation (IDC) which helps Arctic natives with economic development, the Inuit Cultural Institute (ICI) and the Inuit Committee on National Issues (ICNI). In 1976, ITC proposed that the Federal Government divide the Northwest Territories into at least two parts. One of them, where the Inuit compose the majority of the population, would become a new Canadian province called Nunavut (‘Our Land’). This proposal was grounded on a thorough study of Inuit occupancy in the Territories (Freeman, 1976). However, it was not immediately accepted by the federal authorities, but forwarded instead to various bureaucrats and committees for further examination. Ten yearslater, no definitive answer had yet been given to ITC on the subject, even though in 1982 a majority of Northwest Territories residents had approved, by referendum, the principle of a territorial division. For the moment, then, the Inuit of the Northwest Territories are still governed by the same political and administrative institutions as the Dene and Euro-Canadian northern citizens. They participate in the Territorial Legislative Assembly whose twenty-two members are elected by the population. In 1980, nine of these were Inuit. Together with the one non-Inuit representative of an electoral district lying above the tree-line, they formed a separate Arctic caucus (Cairns, 1980). At the local level, all Inuit settlements have been granted municipality or ‘hamlet’ status and are entitled to elect their own mayor and alderman, The Northwest Territories residents send one Inuit deputy to the Federal House of Commons. Two Inuit senators also hold seats in Ottawa. In Arctic Quebec, the NQIA had to fight the James Bay hydroelectric project from the start. In 1971, the Provincial Government proposed to build huge dams and powerhouses in the region east of Hudson Bay. Such a development would flood several thousand square kilometres of Cree and Inuit lands. Appeals to public opinion and legal resource finally forced the Quebec and Federal Governments to discuss the northern Quebec natives’ territorial rights. An agreement was reached in November 1975 and was implemented two years later.

At least a dozen committees were created which dealt with medical services. Recent developments in the Canadian Arctic. Moreover. Alcohol . regular participation in federal-provincial constitutional conferences may herald the advent of significant political changes for them. hunting and fishing. . therefore. and its members refused to recognize the validity of the James Bay agreement (Saladin d’Anglure. As a result of all this a few hundred jobs were created and the Inuit became fully participant in administering their own land. With this in mind. we shall now turn more specifically to one important component of Inuit identity: Inuktitut. but the unemployment rate still attains heights unknown in even the poorest regions of southern Canada. Seal hunting has lost all commercial value due to the protests of European ecologists (Wenzel. A dissident movement emerged: Inuit Tungavingat Nunamini (‘The Inuit foundation in their own land’). politicians and entrepreneurs. but only as long as they respect a rather tight legal and administrative framework in the running of which they have no say. etc. These rights were to be extinguished in exchange for a monetary compensation.no important industry has ever been developed in the Canadian Arctic. 1984). The Inuit have now acquired a real sense of unity and solidarity and occupy political and administrative positions which. it claimed that territorial rights are not negotiable nor extinguishable. but evenin Quebec. The Inuit may do as they see fit. and they were allowed to operate their own educational authority (the Kativik School Board). On the other hand. The NQIA was dissolved and replaced by the Makivik Corporation and its numerous subsidiaries (Air Inuit. environment. in the not too distant past. major decisions are still made by the same southern political and economic establishment. Besides. Kigiak Builders. The economic situation is somewhat better than before. have had both positive and negative consequences. Special cultural and linguistic rights were granted to the Inuit. were reserved for EuroCanadians. a huge bureaucracy suddenly appeared and many people felt alienated from the communal social relations to which they had been used until then. the language of the Canadian Arctic natives.are still a problem. A regional administration (Kativik Regional Government) and local municipalities were established. the Canadian Inuit have maintained and even strengthened their ethnic and cultural identity. and except for two or three small mines -which hire Southerners mostly .and drugs . Centred upon two villages (Povungnituk and Ivujivik) where the cooperative movement had always been strong. etc. however. 1985). Yet one cannot but wonder if the Arctic natives have really gained any real measure of autonomy. Despite all these difficulties.> which were put in charge of economic development through the administration of the compensatory funds. They are consulted on all matters. traditional social homogeneity is now threatened by the emergence of a new middle class of young educated native bureaucrats.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 213 The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement recognized that Arctic Quebec Inuit had aboriginal rights over their territory.

u. according to the dialect. Table 6 shows all six configurations taken by phoneme distribution in the various speech forms. that of continuants. except for some morphological innovations in Eastern Inuktitut. As we have already seen. Arctic Quebec and Labrador). . these speech forms constitute the Eskimo-Aleut linguistic family. Inuinnaqtun.214 Louis-Jacques Dorais Phonology and Grammar of Inuktitut The ten dialects of Canadian Inuktitut belong to the same language as Greenlandic Kalaallisut and Alaskan Inupiaq. North Baffin. Phonology The number of basic phonemes (minimal functional units of pronunciation) varies from sixteen to eighteen. the Canadian dialects may be grouped in two broad categories: Western Inuktitun (Siglitun. In all ten dialects. which may appear either as single (short) or double (long): takujatit takujaatit ‘you see them’ ‘he/she sees you’ ‘who?’ ‘a face’ ‘one human being’ ‘two human beings’ kina kiinaq inuk inuuk The consonants may be divided into three general categories. i. It can be seen that differences are minimal. the grammar remaining more or less the same. All dialects possess the same three vowels: a. We shall now describe some characteristics of this language. Uummarmiutun stands apart as an offshoot of Alaskan Inupiaq. nasal diaphones and continuants. according to their mode of articulation: stops. Natsilik and Kivallirmiutun) and Eastern Inuktitut (Aivilik. phonemes belonging to the first two categories are the same: bilabial P m alveolar velar k t n n(ng) uvular q stops nasals In fact the only differences in the distribution of consonants lie within the third category. Together with the Alaskan and Asiatic Yupik and Aleut languages. South Baffin. The main differences among these dialects are phonological and lexical.

sounding more or less like French ‘r’). or ‘fricative g). j (sometimes written y). has neutralized with j in all other Canadian speech forms.J.The Canadian Inuit and their Language TABLE 6 Distribution of single phonemes among the Canadian dialects Uummarmiutun Natsilik (18 phonemes) vowels: stops: nasal: continuants: i P 215 m V t 1L h t 1L S a k n Y U q R jr a k n Y U q R Siglitun Aivilik North Baffin ( 17 phonemes) vowels: stops: nasals: continuants: i P m V j a U Kivallirmiutun (17 phonemes) vowels: stops: nasals: continuants: i P m V t 1L h k n Y q R j a U Inuinnaqtun (16 phonemes) vowels: stops: nasals: continuants: i P m V t l h k n Y q R j a U South Baffin Arctic Quebec (16 phonemes) vowels: stops: nasals: continuants: i P m V t l S k n Y q R j a U Labrador (16 phonemes) vowels stops: nasals continuants: i P m V t 1L S k n Y q j Source: L. y (a velar voiced fricative. h. For instance. or ‘voiceless 1’). R (a voiced pre-uvular fricative. Dorais. r (a voiced apical fricative. L (a voiceless lateral fricative. which also exists in all Alaskan Ifiupiaq dialects. it has merged with s. In Greenlandic. This last. 1. sounding more or less like English ‘r’). the word for ‘people coming out’ may appear under three different forms: . Uummarmiutun and Natsilik possess eight continuants: v.

while in Arctic Quebec it has done the same with s. R and y have merged. but here. both r and j have merged as elsewhere. For example. it has neutralized with h. For instance. as in piayaya. North Baffin and Labrador. In Inuinnaqtun. they are realized as r. then. the word meaning ‘they are comfortable’ may take the following forms: iluaqtut ihuaqtut isuaqtut ituaqtut Uummarmiutun. Inuinnaqtun. ‘my child’ (other dialects piurara ). South-west Baffin South-eastern Baffin In four dialects (Uummarmiutun. etc. in some words. In the South-eastern Baffin sub-dialect. as in neighbouring Arctic Quebec. in these speech forms. This gives the following distribution: iri qajaq . A peculiar feature of the phonology of both Ifiupiaq and Kalaallisut is that. Thus this dialect is characterized by weakening of the uvular consonants. Aivilik. it should be noted that in the Itivimiut Arctic Quebec subdialect. For example. is pronounced hiun. Kivallirmiutun. the word meaning ‘they enter’ may appear as follows: . t becomes s or h. in the North and Southeastern Baffin speech forms. but in the South-west Baffin speech form. Kivallirmiutun. iji qajaq iri qaraq ‘eye’ (Natsilik) ‘kayak’ (Natsilik) ‘eye’ (Arctic Quebec Tarramiut) ‘kayak’ (Arctic Quebec Tarramiut) ‘eye’ (Arctic Quebec Itivimiut) ‘kayak’ (Arctic Quebec Itivimiut) Phoneme L is present in seven of the ten Canadian dialects: Uummarmiutun. Labrador (iluatutt) Inuinnaqtun Arctic Quebec. rather than j. L has merged with t.216 Louis-Jacques Dorais anirut anijut anisut Uummarmiutun. ‘name’. It should be noted that in Labrador. it has neutralized with s. and sporadically.. siun (or siuti ). the word isua (‘the end of something’) has become ihua. his found instead ofs. other dialects atiq). Natsilik and Kivallirmiutun). Natsilik. which also explains why final q always becomes k (cf. Siglitun. North Baffin.. Labrador atik. Natsilik: Siglitun. Aivilik. Alaskan Iniiupiaq all other Canadian dialects West Greenlandic Kalaallisut Moreover. this phenomenon only occurs in Uummarmiutun and Natsilik. called ‘strong i’). when following i (which is. Natsilik. In the Canadian dialects. ‘ear’.

L and n are palatalized when following a ‘strong i’. Consonants may also be grouped together in clusters of no more than two. They can also be joined to another vowel. only by the syncope of a weak syllable. then. velar-bilabial (nm. In the Western Arctic.The Canadian Inuit and their Language ihiqtut isiqtut itiqtut Uummarmiutun. Three different vowels cannot be grouped together. alveolar-velar (ly. in Western Inuktitun. Alaskan and Western Inuktitun dialects are more conservative: they assimilate far less than Eastern Inuktitut and Greenlandic. alveolar-uvular (nR). ‘house’). a double vowel may sometimes be accompanied by a single different one. This can happen within morpheme boundaries (as in iglu. with some exceptions. regressive assimilation has greatly reduced the number of allowed clusters. ui. ‘beard’ and -lu. the importance of consonant assimilation increases. The number and types of consonant clusters vary from one dialect to another. where more complete assimilation rules produce more geminates (Dorais. This phenomenon is accompanied by a corollary reduction in the types of allowed clusters (examples are given in Table 7): . Clusters may also be generated by the addition of an affix to a base (as in umik-. Natsilik North Baffin. most clusters start with a consonant belonging to one of four main positions of articulation: bilabial. ‘your’: umnin ‘your beard’). and -in. etc. Iv. however. 1986. etc. any consonant may occur as the second element of a cluster. be followed by any consonant. au. ‘beard’. In the Eastern Arctic. when it is followed by a postbase starting with a vowel (as in umik-. there exist various types of heterogeneous clusters: alveolar-bilabial (nm. It is determined by two factors: the nature of the second consonant and the degree of assimilation (mainly regressive) allowed by the dialect. As one moved in a general west-easterly direction. bilabial-velar(mrj). 1. This means that in the Western Arctic. kp. in Uummarmiutun. the importance of homogeneous geminate groupings increases as one moves from the Aivilik area to Labrador. for example). nn). In Inuktitut. alveolar. ‘too’ (also): umiglu. all three vowels may be doubled. the types ofconsonant clusters are more numerous than in the East. These variations constitute an important factor of dialectal differentiation: In all dialects. But in Eastern Inuktitut. but in a few dialects (North Baffin. producing groups such as: ai. South-eastern Baffin all other dialects (Labrador: itittut ) 217 Moreoever. In Western Inuktitut. As seen before. gv). velar and uvular. these initials may. as in North Slope Alaskan Inupiaq. p. ‘the beard too’). 33). but the choice of the first element is more limited. tp). or.

arnaq arviq suqqaq qaqsauq arnaq arviq suqqaq qaqsauq arnaq arviq suqqaq qaqsauq aanaq arviq suqaq qaqsauq annak affik sukqak qatsauk ajyak aujviq inrutaaluk imrusiq agyak augvik ianutaq imrusiq agyak augvik irnutaq irnusiq agyait auwik irnutaq irnusiq axxak auffix arjutak injusik . or’ ‘servant’ ‘road’ original. taamna uwa kivyas apqun taamna uwa kigyaq apqut taanna uwa kigyaq aqqut taanna uwalu kygyaq aqqutik taanna uffalu kixxak akqutik velar clusters ‘bull caribou’ ‘a place to sleep’ ‘throat’ ‘one who walks’ original panniq sinigvik igyiaq pisukti Panniq sinigvik igyiaq pisukti Panniq sinigvik igyiaq pisukti panniq siniwik igyiaq pisutti pannik siniffik ixxiak pisuttik velar clusters ‘woman’ ‘whale’ ‘baleen’ ‘loon’ other clusters ‘hand ‘caterpillar’ ‘grandchild’ ‘cup’ Source: L.218 Louis-Jacques Domis TABLE 7 Some examples of regressive consonant assimilation in selected dialects North Baffin Arctic Quebec Labrador .-J. Dorais._ _ _ _ Siglitun original Aivilik alveolar clusters ‘this one’ ‘you’ ‘two’ ‘louse nit’ manna ilvit malnuk itqiq manna iwit marriuk iqqiq manna iwit marruk iqqiq manna iwit marruuk iqqiq manna iffit maxxuuk’ ikqik Stands for a voiceless velar continuant original bilabial clusters ‘that one’ ‘here it is.

linking the progress of gemination with increasing influence -following sedentarization . Fortescue (1985) found that only 220 affixes are common to all Inuit dialects (including Alaskan Inupiaq and Greenlandic Kalaallisut).The Canadian Inuit and their Language Aivilik alveolar-alveolar. as in most other dialects. but qimmijuaq. A socio-linguistic explanation has also been given (Dorais. In Arctic Quebec Tarramiut. even if the mean number of affixes per dialect hovers around 450. bilabial-any consonant. for instance. in a smaller measure. but different meanings in various dialects. has been explained by a westward diffusion of gemination from Greenland. any second consonant cluster must be simplified by dropping the first element of the grouping. to the Western Arctic (Creider. October 1985). velar-velar. Siglitun dialects. It is impossible to describe all the phonological characteristics of the Canadian dialects here. velar-most consonants.(‘dog’). Lexical differences lie rather in the local corpuses of affixes (word-elements attached to a base). the result will not be qimmirjuaq.in all dialects. bilabial-bilabial. For example.phonologically speaking -than Eastern Inuktitut (and Greenlandic Kalaallisut). Let us simply point out one final feature which characterizes the Arctic Quebec. bilabial-bilabial. bilabial-bilabial. Lexicology Provided that no allowance is made for phonological variation. which marks Western Inuktitun (and Alaskan Inupiaq) as more conservative . the general lexicon may be considered as being basically the same .of the language of camp and settlement-oriented people: women and children. most clusters have been devoiced 219 North Baffin/ South Baffin Arctic Quebec Labrador This phenomenon. where it is more advanced. uvular-most consonants alveolar-alveolar. Within a word. uvular-most consonants alveolar-alveolar. velarvelar/uvular. Labrador and. by elision of the first element of the second cluster. It is the so-called law of double consonants (or Schneider’s law). Arctic Quebec Tarramiut shares only 163 affixes with . are taken into account. This rule. which suffers no exception. If affixes that have a similar form. velar-most consonants. More details may be found in the introduction to Fortescue (1983) or in Dorais (1986). if one adds the affix -jjuaq (‘big’) to the base qimmiq. does not occur outside the above-mentioned dialects. 1981). uvular-most consonants alveolar-alveolar. the ratio of lexical variation may be even greater.except for newlycoined words .

contain more affixes) than in the western dialects. Between Tarramiut and Inuinnaqtun. the difference is somewhat similar: 181 affixes are shared. that intercomprehension in speakers of distant dialects may constitute something of a problem. y. 35. for example. the ratio of variation is much smaller. 66 Natsilik and 64 Siglitun postbases do not appear in the Inuinnaqtun corpus (Fortescue. the figure is a little higher (87). It appears here with permission from the original publisher. Vol IV. If. i. phonemes n. 1. there are only 69 affixes which do not exist in Arctic Quebec Tarramiut. in French. The main differences in relation to the more conservative Western Inuktitunlie in the simplification of dual and plural forms (only one type of paradigm in contemporary Arctic Quebec as against four in the western dialects) and the disappearance of several event markers (verbal mood and person markers. A preliminary version. In Western Inuktitun. The terminology used has been partly suggested by Lowe (1985). words are generally longer (i. of the following pages may be found in Recherches amérindiennes au Québec. one could note down the following piece of conversation: . indeed. 1974). seriously impair the process of communication. its morphology is essentially the same as that of other Eastern Inuktitut speech forms. then. 1985).220 Louis-Jacques Dorais West Greenlandic. pp. in Eastern Inuktitut. this situation can. Overhearing their conversation.e. almost 65 per cent of the affixes the latter is liable to use will be unknown to him.e. a speaker of Inuinnaqtun listens to an Arctic Quebec resident. Thus. 1985). out of a total of 509 postbases used in the first dialect. the percentage of shared affixes barely exceeds 32 per cent of the Arctic Quebec corpus (Fortescue. For the sake of clarity. in more traditional terms). while in the North Baffin speech form.5 per cent of the Tarramiut corpus. for instance. even if the grammatical structure of both dialects is basically the same. Despite some rather innovative features. In the South Baffin dialect. No. y and R will henceforth be written ng. Within each of the two main dialectal divisions of Canadian Inuktitut. 67 Kivallirmiutun. they number 60. 23-32 (Dorais. Added to phonological differences and the fact that. g and r. Grammar There follows a description of the basic grammatical structure. BASIC LANGUAGE UNITS Let us suppose two Arctic Quebec Inuit are speaking to each other. In Labrador Inuttut. It is clear. The dialect chosen as an example is Arctic Quebec (Tarramiut sub-dialect) which has the greatest number of speakers.

In our example. therefore. although the order of their component parts cannot be changed without due consideration: inuit. Some always occur in initial position within the word: inuit. they mean respectively: . Each of these units has a meaning of its own: inuit amisuuvut aiguuq tikittuqarmat avanngat ‘people’ ‘are numerous’ ‘eh there!’ ‘because there are arrivals’ ‘from there. they would allow: amisuuvuninuit aiguuq avanngat tikittuqarmat But they would reject as completely nonsensical the following utterances: -*(uvunamisuninuit) -*(qarmattikittuq avanngaguuq ai) It is. amisy-uvut. It is on them that the global signification of the word is built. av-anngat These initial units give the word its basic meaning.The Canadian Inuit and their Language -inuinamisuuvut aiguuq tikittuqarmanavanngat 221 By undertaking some linguistic inquiry. it is clear that our two informants would rapidly agree to modify the order of certain sequences. For instance. amisuuuut. far away’ Moreover. aiguuq. will henceforth be referred to as words. They may themselves be subdivided into smaller units. tikittuqarmat. auanngat. aiguuq. each unit has a very specific function within the sentence: inuit amisuuvut aiguuq tikittuqarmat avanngat subject of an event main event connection secondary event spatial circumstance These functional units. which are mobile within the sentence. tikit-tuqarmat. possible to identify five different linguistic units that appear to be somewhat mobile within the sentence.

or express the syntactic function of the whole word: -it -u-vut -tu-qar-mat -anngat plurality of a subject ‘to be something’ third plural subject person of the declarative form ‘who does something’ ‘to have something as’ third singular subject person of the causative form ‘from somewhere’ These partly mobile significant elements of the word will henceforth be referred to as postbases. A single word is liable to harbour two or more of these elements (while containing only one base): inuit. a majority of words must compulsorily contain a grammatical ending in final position and.222 inuamisuaiguuq tikitav- Louis-Jacques Domis ‘human being’ ‘many things’ ‘eh there!’ ‘to arrive’ ‘there away’ These non-mobile significant units. TYPES OF POSTBASES According to their distribution and respective functions. the grammatical endings are as follows: . Grammatical endings generally occur as the final elements of words. Moreover. av-anngat These are ‘secondary’ semantic units. In the above example. They modify the basic meaning given by the base. tikit-tu-qar-mat. in most cases. However. We may point out another type oflinguistic unit which always occurs in medial or final position within the word. 197 1) believe that bases and postbases are made from smaller units which they call ‘roots’. only one. since many Inuit speakers do not regard these roots as significant in themselves. It should be noted that some scholars (cf. postbases may be divided into two major categories: grammatical endings and lexical affixes. amisu-u-vut. Collis. which govern the meaning of the word. bases and postbases shall continue to be considered here as the ultimate units of meaning in contemporary Inuktutut. will henceforth be referred to as bases.

All other postbases are to be considered as lexical affixes. amisu-u-vut. and form of an event subject person. Even if some of them (enclitic affixes) may occur in word-final position. Their function is semantic rather than syntactic.The Canadian Inuit and their Language inu-it. and form of an event spatial circumstance As compulsory markers of the grammatical function. they generally appear between the base and the grammatical ending. Let us now describe the different types of grammatical endings. these language units may be classified into various categories. be diagrammatized as follows: POSTBASES BASE lexical affixes grammatical endings semantic dependents semantic ruler 4 syntactic dependents + syntactic ruler I According to their meaning and function. bases and lexical affixes. thus. 223 These postbases express the grammatical function of the word. despite the variety of their meanings. within the sentence: -it -vut -mat anngat subject of an event (plural form) subject person. as they modify. tikit-tu-qar-mat. . av-anngat. the meaning of the base: -uau-qar‘to be something’ ‘someone doing something’ ‘to have something as’ The component parts of the Inuit word may. or expand on. the grammatical endings govern the syntax of the word and sentence.

Always occurring in word-final position (except when followed by an enclitic affix). you. by the following endings: 1st person subject taku-gama taku-gannuk taku-gatta taku-gavit taku-gattik taku-gatsi taku-mmat taku-mmatik taku-mmata taku-gami taku-gamik taku-gamit ‘because I see’ ‘because both of us see’ ‘because we see’ ‘because thou seest’ ‘because both of you see’ ‘because you (many) see’ ‘because he/she/it sees’ ‘because they see (both of them)’ ‘because they see (many of them)’ ‘because him-/her-/itself sees’ ‘because both of themselves see’ ‘because they themselves see’ 2nd person subject 3rd person subject 4th person subject Besides the identity (and number) of the subject.(‘to see’) may be followed. transitive markers). Compare. for instance: single person marker taku-vut taku-mmat ‘they (subject) see’ ‘because he/she/it (subject) sees’ ‘they (agent) see it’ (subject) ‘because he/she/it (agent) sees it’ (subject) double person taku-vaat marker taku-mmauk In the declarative (indicative) mood of occurrence. also express the identity and number of the agent of the event. l the way the event is envisaged: its mood of occurrence.may be followed by these double person markers: 1st person taku-vara ‘I see it’ agent taku-vavuk ‘both of us see it’ taku-vavut ‘many of us see it’ . l the singularity.224 TYPES OF Louis-Jacques Dorais GRAMMATICAL ENDINGS Some grammatical endings are referred to as event markers. the base taku. in the causative (perfective) mood of occurrence. and the way the event is envisaged. a third or a fourth person). For example. with a third person singular subject. duality or plurality of this subject. the base taku. they express the following notions: l the identity of the subject of an event (I. called double person markers (or. less correctly. some event markers.

The Canadian Inuit and their Language 2nd person agent taku-vait taku-vatik taku-vasi taku-vaa taku-vaak taku-vaat ‘thou seest it’ ‘both of you see it’ ‘you (many> see it’ ‘he/she/it sees it’ ‘both of them see it’ ‘they see it’ 225 3rd person agent Complete sets of single and double person markers exist for each of the nine moods of occurrence in Arctic Quebec Inuktitut. They express the syntactic functions that a word denoting any substance (a material object. an abstract notion. an animal. when he saw it’ ‘if he/she sees. he/she/it sees’ ‘what he/she sees: he/she/it sees it’ ‘does he/she/it see?’ ‘does he/she/it see it?’ ‘may he/she/it see!’ ‘may he/she/it see it!’ ‘because he sees. These moods are as follows: declarative (indicative) indicative/ attributive interrogative taku-vuq taku-vaa taku-juq taku-janga taku-va taku-vauk taku-li taku-liuk taku-mmat taku-mmauk taku-ppat taku-ppauk ‘he/she/it sees’ ‘he/she/it sees it’ ‘he/she/it seeing. or saw it’ n ‘while he/she/it shall see’ ‘while he/she/it shall see it’ n perfective appositional (conjunctive) imperfective appositional (conjunctive) Some grammatical endings are referred to as object markers. when he shall see it’ imperative/ optative causative (perfective) conditional (imperfective) dubitative taku-mmangaat ‘(I wonder) if he/she/it sees’ taku-mmangaagu ‘(I wonder) if he/she/it sees it’ taku-tsuni taku-tsugu taku-tsuniuk taku-luni taku-lugu taku-luniuk ‘while he/she/it sees. when he/she saw’ ‘because he sees it. etc. when he/ she shall see’ ‘if he sees it. or saw’ ‘while he/she/it sees.) may perform. a person. .

In such cases. the object markers may also express the person of the possessor(s) to which one. (I am taller) than the man’ anguti-mut anguti-mit vialis function (translative) similaris function (simulative) anguti-kkut ‘(I walk) through the man’s place’ anguti-tut ‘(I talk) like a man. the endings occur .226 Louis-Jacques Dorais There are eight such endings. two or many objects are attributed. each of which is liable to occur in the singular.in a special form.all in the singular form . (I am seen) by the man’ ‘(I am coming) from the man’s place. Here are a few selected examples: subject function illu-ga illu-tik illu-nga illu-ni illu-ta illu-si illu-ngata illu-mi ‘my house’ ‘your (both of you) house’ ‘his/her house’ ‘his/her own house’ ‘of ‘of ‘of ‘of our house(s) your (many of you) house(s) their house’ their own house’ relative function . the man’s (house) ‘(I see) a man’ anguti-mik anguti-mi ‘(I am) at the man’s place. dual or plural forms. (it is) on the man’ ‘(I walk) toward the man.it should be noted that the subject is not marked: subject function (absolutive) relative function (genitive) modalis function (accusative) localis function (locative) terminalis function (allative) ablative function (ablative) anguti‘the man (sees).for each of the eight functions . In the following examples . (I am as tall) as the man’ Besides syntactic functions. (I see him) the man’ anguti-up ‘the man (sees it).

Here are a few examples: .without any intervening affix -by a grammatical ending. may only be attached to a small. they express space relations. When they are followed immediately . They are presented here with the base av. Event bases express the existence of an action.a n n g a t -uuna 1 TYPES OF BASES There exist four types of bases.The Canadian Inuit and their Language modalis function illu-kanik ‘my houses’ illu-nik ‘your house(s) illu-nginnik ‘his/her/their houses’ illu-minnik ‘their own houses’ illu-gani illu-nut illu-nganit illu-migut illu-ukittut ‘in my house’ ‘to your house’ ‘from his/her house’ 221 localis function terminalis function ablative function vialis function similaris function ‘through his own/her own house’ like your (one of you) two houses’ The last category of grammatical endings is that of the localizer markers. plural or possessive forms. they occur in a very specific form and.e . as we shall see. . These endings do not have any dual. a situation or a quality.(‘away’): localis function terminalis function ablative function vialis function av-ani av-unga av-anngat av-uuna ‘there away’ ‘toward there away’ ‘from there away’ ‘through there away’ The spatial relations that these endings express may be diagrammatized as follows: . However.u n g a I -ani . In the same way as certain object markers. closed set of bases. this ending must be an event marker. There are only four of these.

They may be referred to as demonstrative object bases.‘in’ (‘today’) ‘the other side’ -‘in its’ (‘on the other side’) A few bases -mainly designating animals -may be followed either by an object or an event marker. this ending must be an object marker. For example: . a person or a more or less abstract concept. When immediately followed by a grammatical ending. For example. For example: inu(k)illuamisu(t)tuquatausiq‘human being. the demonstrative base una (‘this one here’) may occur in the following forms: singular subject function relative function modalis function localis function terminalis function ablative function vialis function similar-is function una uuma uminga umani umunga umanngat umuuna utunaq dual and plural ukua ukua ukuninga ukunani ukununga ukunanngat ukunuuna ukutitunaq It should also be noted that in many instances. quite akin to the localizer markers. person’ ‘house’ ‘many things’ ‘death ‘one substance’ There exists a closed set of object bases which must be followed by special markers. time and space circumstances are expressed by words harbouring an object base: ullu-mi itivi-ani ‘day’ . a living being.228 tikittakutusaqqanimasurujukpiuaupaq- Louis-Jacques Dorais ‘to ‘to ‘to ‘to ‘to ‘to ‘to arrive’ see’ hear’ be sick ram’ be good be red Object buses designate a material substance. a natural or socio-cultural phenomenon.

the lexical affixes are divided into three categories. because whatever types of bases or affixes occur before them.(to have already done): takusimavunga (‘I have already seen’) another modality -qqajaq.(similaris function) (‘like seals’) ‘seal’ .The Canadian Inuit and their Language natsi-titut natsi-punga ‘seal’ . In our initial example. They express a specific modality of occurrence of the action or situation set by the base (or base plus affix). Some affixes must always be followed by an event marker (or by another affix). They express spatial relations per se. They may replace a full word or sentence.‘I (declarative)’ (‘I catch a seal) 229 Bases of the third category are called localizer bases. which must be one of the four localizer markers. if they are immediately followed by a grammatical ending. as there are only ten of them in contemporary Arctic Quebec Inuktitut. They are therefore called event affixes. Some of these event affixes must immediately follow an event base or another event affix. Contrary to the first two categories of bases. Bases of the last type are called subsidiary bases. which occurs in our original example. They cannot be followed by an ending. the word within which they appear then expresses the occurrence of an event. or act as linguistic shifters. They constitute a closed set.(to begin to): takusivunga (‘I begin to see’) -sima.(to have the obligation to): takugiaqaqpunga (‘I must see’) .(distant future): takulaaqpunga (‘I shall see’) its aspect -si.(to want to): takugumavunga (‘I want to see’) giaqaq.(distant past): takulauqpunga (‘I have seen’) -laaq. TYPES OF LEXICAL AFFIXES According to the type of endings which may-or may not -follow them. the form au.(negation): takunngitunga (‘I do not see’) its time of occurrence -lauq. The form aiguuq (‘Eh there!‘). without reference to any concrete realization.(‘away’) is a localizer base. is a subsidiary base. such as: the negation of its occurrence -nngi(t).(to be able to): takuqqtiaqpunga (‘I can see’) guma. no affix may occur between them and their ending.

(long): illukutaaq (‘a long house’) -lik. They express the occurrence of an event whose object is the base (or base plus affix). or by the unmarked morpheme of the singular non-possessive subject function.(to have): illuqaqpunga (‘I have a house’) -u. They may express various notions linked to the event set by the base (or base plus affix): the existence of something permitting the occurrence of the event -uti.(place or time for): takuvik (‘place or time for seeing’) -ji.(to build): illuliuqpunga (‘I build a house’) -qaq. they express the occurrence of a localization or movement in space: -it. Together with it. Some of these object affixes must immediately follow an object base of another object affix. because of their presence. These must be immediately followed by an object marker (or by another affix).(who habitually does): takuji (‘one who is in the habit of seeing’) . or the attribution of the object denoted by the base to an unexpressed agent. Whatever the base and affixes which precede them.230 Louis-Jacques Dorais Other event affixes must immediately follow an object base of an object affix (see below).(to move in a direction): illumuuqpunga (‘I go to the house’) illukuuqpunga (‘I go through the house’) The event affixes may be symbolized as follows: aEE aOE when they follow an event base when they follow an object base The second category of lexical affixes includes all object affixes.(which is used for): takuuti (‘thing used for seeing’) -vik. Here are a few examples: -(t)siaq.(to be something): illuuvuq (‘it is a house’) A few of these event affixes normally follow an object marker.(big): illualuk (‘a big house’) -kutaaq.(one who has): illulik (‘one who has a house’) Other object affixes must immediately follow an event base or an event affix.(good): illusiaq (‘a good house’) -aluk. the word within which they occur as final affix denotes a substance or notion.(to be somewhere): illumiittunga (‘I am in the house’) -uq. They may express a quality attributed to the base (or base plus affix). such as: -liuq.

(the action of doing): takugiaq (‘action of seeing’) -niq (the fact of doing): takuniq (‘the fact of seeing. For this reason. they generally come after the grammatical ending. They are structured according to the following patterns (where b = base. They may replace an afIix plus marker group. generally speaking.(to which it is done): takujaq (‘which is seen’) the objectivization of the event giaq. vision’) The object fixes may be symbolized as follows: a00 when they follow an object base aE0 when they follow an event base 231 The last category of lexical affixes comprises all enclitic affixes. e = ending. or even a full word. In contrast with event and object affixes. and 0 = object): bE + aEE + eE bO+aOE+eE taku-lauq-punga illu-liuq-punga (‘I have seen’) (‘I build a house’) Object words cannot. These are defined by the various permitted combinations of bases. a full sentence. or act as linguistic shifters: -guuq (it is said): illuguuq (‘a house. They are structured according to the following patterns: bO+aOO+eO bE + aE0 + e0 illu-alum-mi taku-uti-mut (‘in the big house’) (‘because of something [that is] used to see’> . enclitic affixes also occur with localizer bases and markers as well as with subsidiary bases. which. affixes and endings. constitute a full sentence by themselves. they always occur in word-final position. a = affix. E = event. Event words may constitute. it is said’) kiak (I wonder if): takuvungakiak (I wonder if I see’) -1u (and . do not accept any affix. As their name implies. otherwise. by themselves. it is now possible to delimit four different types of words. too): avanngalu (‘from there away too’) -1i (but): aiguurli Abut eh there!‘) TYPES OF WORDS On concluding this typological description of minimal significant units.The Canadian Inuit and their Language the subject of the event expressed by the base -jaq.

constitutes a limit: bE+aEE+aEE+aEO+aOO+aOE+aEE+eE+aEn taku-lauq-sima-nngi-ta-alu-gi-galuaq-tara-li ‘but. in a few cases. A word such as the following. it may lose its meaning. grammatical ending. limited in practice. may occur within the same word. however.232 Louis-Jacques Dorais localizers are structured according to the following pattern (where L = Localizer): bL+eL av-anngat ("from there away") Subsidiary words are structured according to the following pattern (where S = Subsidiary): bS aiguuq (‘eh there!‘) Any type of word may be followed by an enclitic affix (aEn). more than one affix or. In Arctic Quebec the total number of word elements rarely exceeds nine or ten. which governs linguistic relations within the word. such as in: bO+eO+aOE+eE+aEn illu-mi-it-tunga-lu (‘and I am in the house’) bS + aEn niangar-li (‘but how lucky you are!‘) I NTERNAL AND E XTERNAL S YNTAX The word patterns shown above relate to the internal syntax of the language. I have really never seen it’ . If the word is too long. These patterns are very schematic. although quite common. Actually. such as in: bO+aOE+aOE+aEE+eE illu-liur-uti-qa-nngi-tunga ‘I do not have an instrument to build a house’ bO+aOO+eO+aOE+aEE+eE illu-alum-mu-u-riaqaq-punga ‘I must go to the big house’ The number of affixes within a single word is. however.

as syntactic functions are clearly marked by grammatical endings. mutual understanding is easily possible among North American Arctic natives. and with a little effort. for instance) or exclamative. however. such as in: Pauliup ataatangata piqatingata illunga ‘Paul’s father’s friend’s house’ Pauliup piqatingata ataatangata illunga ‘Paul’s friend’s father’s house’ Before closing this section. taku-sima-qqau-uara (‘I was in the situation of seeing it’) differs in meaning from taku-qqau-sima-uara (‘I am in the situation of having already seen it’). as each affix modifies the meaning of all preceding elements. It is mainly when dealing with a sequence of possessors and possessed words that word order becomes obligatory. . generally speaking. such as the morphology of dual and plural forms. Pauli takuuuq Piitamik (‘Paul sees Peter’) is as clearly understandable as Piitamik takuuuq Pauli or Pauli Piitamik takuuuq.words are much shorter. The language of the Inuit is. rarely encompassing more than four or five elements. thus. the order of occurrence of the various affixes plays a crucial part. external syntax -governing the relations between words . Within word boundaries. basically the same. By contrast. the grammatical structure described applies. number and nature of event moods of occurrence.is much less important. For example. Only some specific details.‘there is’ (‘there is a house’) ‘house this one’ (‘this is a house’) Although all examples come from the Arctic Ocean dialect. which have exactly the same meaning. For example. except when it is elliptical (the answer to a question. a few object affixes and words which have a predicative function. thus allowing for the economy of an event word: illu-lik illu una ‘house’ .The Canadian Inuit and their Language 233 In the western Arctic . let us finally note that any complete sentence must contain at least one event word. to any Inuit speech form from Alaska to Greenland.and among the younger speakers of Eastern Inuktitut . or usage of some localizers may vary from one dialect to the other. There exist.

the situation is no longer the same. thence. such as the French trader Martel de Brouague or the Moravian missionary Jens Have. For example. various people. At the present time. Christian missionaries introduced a variety of orthographical systems that have been handed down until now. or . virtually all speakers of Canadian Inuktitut are able to write their language. Inuktitut was not a written language. was heavily influenced by the pronunciation and orthography of their native language: French. 1980): Original orthography amaoc actounacto qigoutte couraille tocto coussé cliquaque Current orthography amaruq aqqunaqtuq kigut quiqtuqtuq qungisiilitaq Signification wolf it is stormy tooth he/she coughs scarf Fortunately for us. except for a few wordlists elicited by explorers or traders. The first of these glossaries was noted down on the occasion of Martin Frobisher’s first discovery voyage to Baffin Island in 1576. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (earlier in Labrador). It was not until the eighteenth century. The first problem they encountered was one of orthography. As already seen. It contains seventeen words. became customary. their perception of how Inuktitut was pronounced and. English. although they speak it fluently. some of which are still recognizable after 400 years. or even short lexicons. In the absence of any Inuit writing tradition. that the preparation of wordlists. however. here are a few words found in an anonymous French-Inuktitut list collected in southern Labrador around 1730 (Dorais.234 Louis-Jacques Dorais Literacy. no transcription of it existed. they had to do their best to note as exactly as possible what they thought they were hearing. Until the arrival of the first European missionaries.German. should be written. elicited and wrote down lists of words and expressions which were sometimes quite substantial. In Labrador and on the Hudson Bay coast.in the case of the Moravians . . Orthography and Literature The linguistic structure described in the preceding section has been transmitted orally from generation to generation for many centuries. The only exceptions are a very few elderly people and a number of younger persons who were schooled entirely in English during the 1960s and who have some problems writing the language. This meant that most of the time.

Despite its shortcomings. Bourquin’s orthography over-differentiated the vowels.The Canadian Inuit and their Language Orthographical Systems 235 The earliest systematic attempt at writing Canadian Inuktitut was made by the Moravian Brethrenin Labrador. Like that of his predecessors. Bourquin promoted a system where double vowels were noted with a circumflex accent. Influenced by the writing traditions already in use in Labrador and Greenland. Bourquin (cf. The result is that the spoken and written forms of the present-day Labrador dialect are far apart. It also doubled some single consonants unnecessarily. In 1809. practically all the Christian Inuit of Labrador could read and write their language (Anonymous. 1891). T. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century. in a certain measure -published in it. ukpirniq qatangutgiit akumgani inuugannirlauqpuq ajuqiqtuijuqarannirlauqpullo. A few years after the foundation of their first mission at Nain (1771). the first Inuttut hymn book was published. i and e. the Moravian Inuit and their missionaries have refused to modify their writing system.and still are. 1971). As early as 1791 a school was established in Nain and another one opened in Hopedale in 1804. despite major changes in the phonology of Labrador Inuttut. Here is an example of a Labrador Inuttut text in both the Moravian and Inuit Tapirisat of Canada orthographies: Moravian orthography: Kattangutiget asserortaugalloarmatta taipsomane Kommeniuse inojungnairmat jarime 1670ime. and the difference between phonemes k and q symbolized by the use of small and capital k. they settled down to the task of translating hymns and Biblical texts into Labrador Inuttut. okperneK Kattangutiget akkomgane inogannerlaukpoK ajoKertuijoKarannerlaukpullo. Bourquin’s orthography was a useful tool with which to teach the Labrador Inuit in their own language. and by 1826. The text . Bourquin. thanks to the grammatical and lexicological work of Rev. Inuit Tapirisat of Canada orthography: Qatangutigiit asiruqtaugaluarmata taipsumani Kumminiusi inuujungnairmat jaarimi 167Oimi. and u and o. making distinctions between a and e. that the Moravian orthography was standardized. Their work was made easier by the fact that they already had translation experience in their Greenlandic missions. It became so identified with the Moravian religious and social complex that. Many church and school texts were . however. since the end of the nineteenth century.

Evans had struggled to devise a means of recording accurately the sounds of the native Ojibway speech in the Roman alphabet. However. pp. that of English. printed a small book of scripture verses in Inuktitut syllabics. then part of the Hudson Bay Company’s vast territory. that the two missionaries devised a definitive version of the system (Harper. The only occasions where oral and written Labrador Inuttut really coincide are at church celebrations. a Wesleyan missionary. however. transcribed according to its contemporary pronunciation. E. but had finally given up and developed a method of his own. Moravian script today has the same problems as many other orthographies. the Reverend James Evans. John Horden. like Ojibway. sending copies of church literature with expeditions. the actual task of translating the New Testament into Eastern Inuktitut.A. they were sufficient to represent the vowel and consonant combinations of Ojibway (Harper. 1983. was undertaken in 1876 by the Anglican James E.g. 8-9). using Watkins and Horden’s syllabic script. Peck preached the Christian Gospel in Arctic Quebec and southern Baffin Island. traders and Inuit travellers (Harper. Watkins of the Church Missionary Society introduced the syllabic system to Inuit while visiting the Hudson Bay Company’s posts at Fort George (Chisasibi) and Little Whale river in Arctic Quebec. use of the Moravian orthography was limited to Labrador. At Norway House. When preaching or lecturing on religious texts. one of his colleagues. For almost thirty years. He insisted that the Inuit learn to read syllabics in order to keep contact with the Scriptures. He knew Pitman shorthand and turned this knowledge to good account by creating a syllabic script. p. thus reviving the language of a hundred years ago. becomes noticeably different to its original version: Qatangutigiit asiguttaugaluammata taitsumani Kumminiusi inuujunnaimat jaagini 167Oimi. the system quickly spread. Despite some initial criticism from the religious authorities. 14).236 Louis-Jacques Dorais quoted above. He created nine symbols. belongs to the Algonkian family) and began adapting syllabics to it. In Canada. e. and taught all over Cree territory. . The same year. In 1840. transferred from southern Ontario to Norway House. He was very active in proselytizing. In 1855. It was not until 1865. In Ontario. Peck. It portrays the language as it was spoken a long time ago. It was soon adopted by the Anglican and Catholic missionaries. 1983. Evans learned the Cree language (which. In the rest of the eastern Arctic. missionaries and lay readers scrupulously pronounce the words as they are written. uppinik qatangutigiit akunngani inuugannilauppuk ajuqittuijaqagarmilauppulu. 1985). Rev. mainly because the Indians found it really useful. each of which could be written in four different positions. even in the absence of the missionary. a completely different type of writing system was to be developed: the syllabic script. first devised for the Ojibway Indians.

whom he had met around 1922-3: The Peck Syllabic Writing has spread widely among the Iglulik Eskimos. Ilwit nunamiut suinangit nangmaktutin tolsialtogut pigalugit. Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada). where the mothers teach it to their children and the latter teach each other. Toronto. Guutim imnaigaalunga: Guutim irninga. Kivallirmiut.The Canadian Inuit and their . it was never standardized or taught in schools. Godim Imnaigalunga: Godim Ekninga. 1949. syllabics had become the principal means of communication of the Arctic Quebec. Ilvit nunamiut suinnangit nangmaktutin tuksiaqtugut pigalugit. most Iglulik Eskimos can read and write this fairly simple but rather imperfect language and they often write letters to each other. in both the missionary and Inuit Tapirisat of Canada orthographies: Missionary orthography: Suli Atanik Ekniktuakuyotin Jesus Christ. 233 in Harper. 1983). Here is a short text in Western Inuktitun. Without ever having been taught in a formal academic setting. Baffin Island. they brought syllabics to the Kivallirmiut. nunamiut suinnangit nangmakutin nagligilaktigut. Inuit Tapirisat of Canada orthography: Suli ataniq irniqtualuujutin Jisusi Cristusi. missionaries and traders had introduced Inuinnaqtun. by 1925. Unfortunately. p. which means that each writer had more or less his or her own way of writing the language. late in the nineteenth century. Danish archaeologist Therkel Mathiassen wrote about the Iglulik people. Siglitun and Uummarmiutun speakers to the Roman alphabet. Aivilik and Natsilik peoples. They translated and printed the New Testament and Christian (Anglican and Catholic) hymns and prayers in an alphabetical orthography of their own. (Anonymous. Over the years a great many hymn and prayer books were printed in various dialects.Language 237 Peck and his successors did so well that. Outside church functions the Inuit used syllabics when writing to each other. . But this writing system was never used beyond the Natsilik territory because. When Anglican and Catholic missionaries established themselves on the west shore of Hudson Bay. pencils and pocket-books are consequently in great demand among them (Mathiassen. 1928. Aivilik and Natsilik Inuit. A few people even began to keep a daily diary or to note important events and dates on the inside cover of the family Bible. most eastern Canadian Inuit outside Labrador were able to read and write their own language using the syllabic script. Service Book of the Western Eskimos. nunamiut suinangit nangmaktutin nagligilaktigut.

238 Louis-Jacques Dorais At the beginning of the 195Os. For the first time in Canada. a compendium of practical informationissued by the Department of Northern Affairs in 1964. Three writing systems were in use: Moravian orthography (Roman alphabet) Syllabic writing system Labrador Arctic Quebec Baffin Island Western Hudson Bay Natsilik area Arctic Coast. Gagné’s orthography was interesting enough. Raymond Gagne. 5).). i and u. the Commission’s members. . This is why in 1957. a.. most Inuit neglected their use (Fig. The only major publication in Gagné standard was the Quaujiuaallirutissat. For example. mm. tt. he published a report (Gagné. etc. they should be written as such (au. the phonemes. as Inuktitut possesses only three vowels. therefore. based on the minimal functional units of pronunciation.to note letters such as e or o. from 1960 on. all native speakers of Inuktitut. In 1965. it is quite useless . almost all Canadian Inuit were literate in their language. 1957). the transcription of Inuktitut was based on scientific principles. whether Moravian or syllabic. . 6). Things remained as they were until 1973 when the newly-created Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) proposed the setting-up of an Inuit Language Commission whose dual purpose was to ‘produce a major statement on the viability of the Inuit language and. the Federal Department of Northern Affairs approached a linguist to examine the possibility of devising a standard Roman alphabetical orthography which would be common to all Canadian dialects (Lefebvre.and confusing . while some people used the small diacritic signs which permit an accuracy similar to that of the Roman alphabet (Fig. After almost 200 years of Inuit literacy in Canada. which do not really belong to the language. it was the first time that the Inuit themselves became involved in linguistic matters. visited most Canadian Inuit settlements. to study the present state of the written language and recommend changes for the future’ (Harper. however. Gagné stated. Phonemes k and q should always be distinguished from one another. the semantic context being generally sufficient to clarify most ambiguities. 51 and 54). This work was pursued. Mackenzie Unstandardized Roman orthography The syllabic system was not completely standardized. When double vowels or consonants are heard. The basic symbols were the same for everybody but. 1965) suggesting that a phonological alphabetical orthography be adopted. pp. because most Inuit identified themselves very strongly with their own writing systems. In 1974 and 1975. It did not succeed. No particular dialect should prevail over the others and be made the sole standard way of speaking Inuktitut. 1983. Their conclusions concurred on two major points: 1. by another linguist.

qimirruagait amisunngutitauninga akitujummarialuummat. In syllabics. g and ng. Each of them should ideally permit the accurate transcription of any Canadian dialect.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 239 SUMUT TAAKKUA QIMIRRUAGAIT P J < . ilaaniunngituugaluaq. Inunnut amisunut pigumajautillugit qaujimagaluarsuta amisunngutitaugutis- sanginnik kiinaujanik pinasaalaujugatta nuinasaalaqijut. 2. Moreover. taakkua taakkutuulaqijut ilaqa- rajaraluarsutik amisunngurutissangin- nik kiinaujanik atuinnaqartitaugutta. the sub-committee agreed on standard symbols in order to distinguish between k and q. while respecting dialectal variations in pronunciation. 4 L l C KINGUVALUARMANGAATA Taakkua Inuksiutikkut qimirruagaliangit Inuit unikkaaliaviningit 1973ngutillugu amisunngutitaulutik nuititaulangalaujujuugaluat kavamakkunullu katujjiqatigiikkunullu kiinaujatlgut angirtaunasaalaujugatta ukiunik sitamanik qikatuinnalaqijut atuiwaugalu- arsutik. 5. 53. The alphabetical orthography proposed was based on the same phonological principles as Gagné’s system. a sub-committee met at Eskimo Point to discuss the particulars of a standard orthography. It was soon decided that two systems should be proposed. . the use of diacritics was considered as essential. from Inuksiutiit allaniagait 1. a syllabic and an alphabetical one. Fig. 1977. Source: reproduced by permission of the Association Inuksiutiit katimajiit Inc. In March 1976. p. All users of syllabics wished very strongly to preserve this writing system. and I and (‘voiceless I’). Syllabic and Roman Orthographies.

6. held in Iqaluit in September 1976. As such. The sub-committee’s proposals were unanimously adopted by the delegates to ITC’s general assembly.240 Louis-Jacques Dorais Fig. its use was to be encouragedin the schools and media (Ajurnarmat. Moreover. 5. Syllabics without diacritics. 1978). a special typewriter sphere was designed for the new syllabic system. 7) accordingly became the official script for Canadian Inuktitut. Source: see Fig. . This dual orthographical system (Fig.

they could write y. Source: reproduced by courtesy of Nortext Ltd. instead of j.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 241 l 0 Fig. But things were not so simple. For example.. They finally accepted it on condition that .together with the Sight and Uummarmiut . 7. Inuinnaqtun speakers at first refused to adopt the letter q. Ottawa. . Many people felt very reluctant to relinquish the orthographical conventions which they were familiar with. Standard writing system.

and declared that the Moravian orthography. constituted the sole acceptable writing sytem for the Labrador people. qs. tai. Problems have also arisen due to the standard orthography’s inherent shortcomings.. orthographical diversity will once again be rooted as it was before the creation of the Inuit Language Commission in 1974. the Labrador Inuit Association finally yielded to the wishes of its senior members. cannot be symbolized as it is in Alaska -by r. Nowadays. The unanimous linguistic decision reached in 1976 was swiftly challenged from many sides and it is to be expected that. despite its serious shortcomings. With regard to groupings. as in sininngimman (‘because he/she does not sleep’) and tikin’ngimman (‘because he/she does not arrive’). 1979). Western Inuktitun discriminates between n + ng and ng + ng. qt and qq. For example. which is phonemic in both Natsilik and Uummarmiutun. because this letter is already used to transcribe the pre-uvular voiced continuant (R). .242 Louis-Jacques Domis The most articulate opposition. MacLean. including several language teachers. should be re-introduced into the syllabic system. for which the ITC standard does not provide any symbol. however. rather than j and ll. harbour peculiar phonemes and groupings. which now currently process Inuktitut syllabic or alphabetic data. ITC standard syllabics can be automatically transliterated into ITC Roman alphabetical orthography and vice versa. where many people. etc. rS. about which almost nothing was known in 1976. rt. Quebec’s Avataq Cultural Institute has set up its own Language Commission which has recommended that the series ai. when the standard orthography provides only one group of symbols. insisted on writing rp. instead of qp. such as those of Western Inuktitun. or tj and tl. pai. For instance. Computers and word processors. Some opposition also built up in Arctic Quebec. within a few years. After some initial attempts at implementing the alphabetical version of the standard orthography. and n’ng (n + ng). The result of all this is that. each region of the Arctic still harbours a quasi-parochial attachment to its own specificities. nng (for ngng)? The solution found was to distinguish between nng (ng + ng). How then can the difference be made graphically visible. Some phonologically conservative dialects. despite a strong desire on the part of many Inuit intellectuals -and international organizations -to achieve linguistic and orthographical unity (cf. however. This should make it easier to provide for the automatic transcription of one version of Canadian Inuktitut orthography into any other version. excluded by the ITC decision. the apical alveolar continuant. and rq. will no doubt facilitate transfer from one orthographical system to another. The solution for Uummarmiutun speakers consisted in creating a new grapheme . came from Labrador. the question of a common orthography is probably not as crucial as it appeared ten or fifteen years ago.

explained to the Inuit how fortunate they were to live under the laws of England and the protection of the Company. 1971. 1973).its infamous Eskimo Book of Knowledge (Binney and Perrett. Entitled Sanaaq (the name of the main character). at the time of the first contacts with Euro-Canadians. as we have seen. biblical texts. It was followed in 1949 by the Book of Wisdom for Eskimos (Department of Mines and Resources.two autobiographies in English (Campbell. Ajaruaq. it depicts the doings of a young widow living in a small semi-nomadic band. The book had already appeared in the original language between 1967 and 1969 in instalments in the Inuktitut magazine. Canadian Inuit literature cannot be compared. Since the early 197Os. in its original syllabic version (Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk. In Labrador. Apart from two more titles. because in Canada. for instance. publication of texts by Inuit authors. 1973. had been written between 1953 and 1956 by a 23-year old Arctic Quebec woman. giving practical information on various matters. Pitseolak. 1931) which. 1940) -this was almost all. In 1931. Sivuaq. . 1970. the federal Department of Northern Affairs issued. Salome Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk. Until the 197Os. Fifteen years later. The first of all Canadian Inuit novels.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 243 Written Literature The development of writing systems and the ensuing general literacy have given birth to a writtenliterary tradition which is still embryonic. however. 1972 and 1973. p. 1970). or Western Arctic script-were. perhaps. where Inuktitut was taught in Moravian schools. after witnessing the loss of his relatives and fiancee. Its plot concerns a young hunter who. The development of an original Canadian Inuit literature corresponds to the ethnic. 1984). Metayer. finally commits suicide.g. as mentioned earlier. Washburne and Annauta. its Qaujivaallirutissat (‘Materials to be used as a tool for learning more and more’). except. however. 1984. cultural and political revival of the early 1970s. 1949) whose tone was quite similar. The use of the native language by missionaries and other people involved in teaching the Christian religion accounts for the fact that the first books printed in Inuktitut . 30). Alasuaq. Inuit books were few and far between (McGrath. This period also saw the publication of the first Inuit novel translated into English (Markoosie. until recently. however. in an outrageously paternalistic tone. 1899) were also published by the missionaries. a few academic texts in the local dialect (e. to that of Greenland. Inuktitut did not receive any public recognition and encouragement. hymns and prayers.whether in the Moravian orthography. 1969. Martin. in 1964. It began with the publication of a few autobiographies and stories about traditional culture (Nungak and Arima. in religious matters. the Hudson Bay Company published -in Labrador Inuttut and English . 1894. For various reasons it was only published thirty years later. syllabics. in both .

Peter Pitseolak (1975).the author of an encyclopaedia in syllabics on traditional Inuit life in Arctic Quebec (Qumaq. Thrasher (1976). Freeman (1978). Robin McGrath (McGrath. Most of these appear in periodicals. (4) articles and essays on contemporary life. Alootook Ipellie . but it is often written in English. 1986) Armand Tagoona (1975) and Anthony A. Leah Idlout d’Argencourt (1976).contain a lot a short stories. More on Inuit media will be found in Section 11 of this chapter. In 1985 a resource centre on Canadian Inuit literature was established in Iqaluit. Many of them have been recorded and have tremendous success when broadcast by local radio stations or heard live at Arctic music festivals. The mood of these songs is overwhelmingly sentimental. 1974-6) -Nuligak (1972). Francois Quasa (1974). .244 Louis-Jacques Dorais Inuktitut and English. 1976). has been phenomenal. 1984. It would be impossible here to draw up a complete list -or even a more or less exhaustive selection . albeit still very young. Its first objective is to help northern schools in teaching language and communications.of Inuit authors (cf. or by Inuit. In her study on Canadian Inuit written literature.perhaps the most prolific contemporary author and draughtsman (cf. (3) history of the material culture. 1980). but its human and bibliographical resources are at the disposal of anyone interested in the subject. 1974 and Cowan. Two major collections of testimonies on contemporary life by ordinary people are also available (Padlayat. has already had a good start in Canada. Newspapers and magazines published in the Arctic .or in southern Canada. Poetry does exist. Gedalof. in the numerous Inuktitut songs. by Inuit and Inuit-concerned organizations . p. 81) states that contemporary Inuit prose may be classified into four categories: (1) modern stories. All this proves that Inuit written literature. They speak about love. Let us simply mention a few of them: Davidialuk Alasuaq (1981). Ipellie. Most of these writers have published in both Inuktitut and English. 1979). The genuine poetical tradition of the contemporary Canadian Inuit lies. Taamusi Qumaq . attachment to the native land and nostalgia toward the old way of life. as it used do in older times. Its library should constitute a repository for all printed works writtenin Inuktitut. Minnie A. John Igloliorte (1976). (2) memoirs or reminiscences. often in a Country and Western musical form composed by various singers all over the Arctic. essays and poems on various subjects. A first anthology in English appeared in 1980 (Gedalof and Ipellie.

According to this author. create a new word using native morphemes which will define or explain the concept.e. from a linguistic viewpoint. foods and other contrivances introduced into the Arctic by Europeans. Social.. political and ideological concepts. seem to be on the verge of extinction. first. either through immediate contact or indirect trade relations. confronted with thousands of new concepts which had to be translated into native linguistic categories. most Canadian Inuit have been acquainted. Canada’s Arctic natives are now familiar with most modern scientific.. It was. utensils. i. some dialects. We shall now deal with these two phenomena which characterize the contemporary language situation: the designation of exogenous concepts and the advent of generalized bilingualism. or to a lesser degree. 1980. without. Graburn (1965). As Saint-Aubin put it: The results of this work have shown that the Inuit language strongly resists direct borrowing when faced with the necessity of expressing a foreign concept. Their conclusions generally concur. the language of the Inuit is not yet able to express all the concepts. its speakers were forced to learn a foreign tongue. is that most contemporary activities take place in Inuktitut. possess snowmobiles. Moreover. What is amazing. They live in wooden oil-heated houses. to extend the meaning of a traditional word (Saint-Aubin. institutions and material objects in existence. A very few studies have addressed themselves to the problem of neologisms in Canadian Inuktitut. though. economic.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 245 Contemporary Language Situation Literary vitality does not mean. for all that. because of the gradual imposition of imported techniques. that Inuktitut is completely safe and sound. with raw materials. 82). weapons. but it has found a way to speak about most of them. Later on. p. with less than 50 per cent of speakers. Saint-Aubin (1980).The preferred method of semantic borrowing is to calque. resistance to direct borrowing is a characteristic of Inuktitut in general. forfeiting its basic originality. Naturally enough. presented to them as essential to their survival in the modern world. In her opinion. Harper (1983) and Dorais (1983) are the only ones we know of. cultural and linguistic contacts with EuroCanadians have represented a formidable challenge to the language of the Inuit. hold technical or administrative jobs and discuss local or world politics over satellite telephone. Designation of Foreign Concepts For over 150 years. As we saw in the section on Inuit settlements and language groups. social institutions and Christian religious ideas. television sets and home computers. it is ‘due to the polysynthetic .

The ‘polysynthetic nature’ of Inuktitut permits the language. a stone or snow blind. In her research on loanverbs in three eastern Arctic settlements (Eskimo Point. 1983).with no traditional Inuit equivalent (Dorais. p. Broughton Island and Salluit). quite naturally. the occurrence of direct borrowings. to coin new words very easily to describe the function or appearance of the object or notion they translate. calques and extensions in the transla- tion of English verbs with no traditional equivalent is 3. in older times.. Despite the use of a slightly different terminology. 1980. in various dialects. Thus. Inuktitut is strongly opposed to direct borrowing of words from another language. it analyses the basic meanings of more than 2. For example. due to interdialectal variation. translate the 950 or so original English words. Dorais divides what . etc. These proportions roughly correspond to those found in Dorais’ study on the Inuktitut translation of over 900 English nouns . they account for at least 90 per cent of all words denoting exogenous realities. she found that: Overall.5 per cent. p. For instance. characterized by the fact that it can fly.100 lexemes which. 82). through the use of bases and postbases. several words denoted the idea of something used to hide somebody from other people.all pertaining to material culture .246 Louis-Jacques Dorais nature of the language which results in a high degree of native lexical flexibility’ (ibid.5 per cent respectively (Saint-Aubin. 68 per cent and 28. Based on research conducted from 1968 to 1971 in Arctic Quebec and Labrador. the airplane is. Some of these words now translate the modern notions of ‘curtain’ or ‘spring-roller blind’: talukujaaq talu taalutaq taalutak Inuinnaqtun North Baffin Arctic Quebec Labrador These two methods of attributing Inuit names to foreign concepts draw exclusively on the native resources of the language. whether the contrivance in question be a skin veil. In most dialects. This means that. it is designated by newly-coined lexemes describing this characteristic: tingim tingmisuuq qangattajuuq tingijuuk ‘which ‘which ‘which ‘which is used to fly usually flies’ usually ascends’ usually flies’ Inuinnaqtun North Baffin Arctic Quebec Tarramiut Labrador Another method consists in extending the meaning of an existing word. as Saint-Aubin noted. 82).

Here are a few examples from Arctic Quebec: Words expressing function iigarvik ilinniatitsiji dock (‘the place where a boat comes alongside’) teacher (‘one who causes someone to attempt to learn’) kukkiliuti toothpick (‘that which serves to remove the bits of food from between the teeth’) soup bowl (‘that which is used to eat soup’) qajuqtuuti salumaittuturiikkuti air filter (‘a means to prevent something the engine . refer either to the function or the appearance of the object they designate. or from the vocabulary linked to traditional culture: . Newly-coined words can. automobile (‘a short sled’) Words expressing the extension of an original meaning to a newly introduced concept may either come from the general lexicon of the language.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 247 he labels ‘modes of designation’ into the same three categories as SaintAubin did: newly-coined words (calques). to which a qualifying postbase has been added: umiarjuaq qullialuk qamutikallak ship (‘a huge boat’) pressure lamp (‘a big traditional stone lamp’) snowmobile. as mentioned above. extensions of meaning and direct borrowings. The first two categories may be further subdivided into semantic classes.from eating dirty things’) siniwik bedroom (‘the place where one sleeps’) Words expressing appearance aupaqtulik kiinaujaq kukittapak pattaujaq nunannguaq qaritaujaq colour film (‘that which has red in it’) money (‘that which looks like a human face’) guitar (‘that which habitually has a finger nail on it’) orange (‘that which resembles a ball’) map (‘an imitation of the earth’) computer (‘that which resembles a brain’) A third kind of newly-coined word comprises those lexemes originally denoting a traditional cultural reality.

as loan-words seem to be distributed more or less at random within the total lexicon. that of direct borrowings. Most of these lexemes have been adapted to the phonology of Inuktitut. the Moravian missionaries. cannot be subdivided into semantic classes.still survive in contemporary Labrador Inuttut (Heinrich. most of whom were originally from Germany. ‘pig’ (from kûkus).248 Louis-Jacques Dorais General words aggait ajj1 isaruq pullaq uaruti glove (‘a hand’) photograph (‘something similar to’) wing of an aircraft (‘wing of a bird’) electric bulb (‘a bubble of air’) motor oil (‘something which is mixed’) Cultural words puurutaq ulimauti tatsiq pattak qajuuttaq a plate (‘traditional wooden plate’) axe (‘traditional adze’) belt (‘traditional trouser belt’) inflated ball (‘traditional playing ball’) cup (‘traditional wood. from Loewe ) and two lexemes originating from either Cree or Montagnais Indian languages: pakaakuani. about fifty of which -pertaining mainly to numerals and the calendar . In Labrador. have introduced many German words. Here are a few examples of English (from Arctic Quebec) and German (from Labrador) borrowings: Borrowings from English vaini paisikal aisikirim talavisia saasa paniuppaaq papa wine bicycle ice cream television saucer frying pan pepper . ‘hen’ (from pakakwan) and kuukusi. In the Northwest Territories and Arctic Quebec dialects. one German word (luivi. in Arctic Quebec. This dialect has also borrowed extensively from English. The only exceptions are. 1971). leather or stone cup’) The last category. ‘lion’. almost all borrowings are from English.

3. 4. by far. it is apprehended as belonging to a taxinomic classification. p. it is translated by a newly-coined lexeme or a semantic extension. ‘to throw a stream forward’). French has not given a single word to Inuktitut. finally. an element is perceived as completely alien to any known semantic category. 1980) has left no traces. Comparison of the literal meanings of newly-coined words and semantic extensions allows us to read the lexicon as a series of commentaries on the characteristic features perceived by Inuit speakers as relevant for describing the contemporary world. it may be translated by a word borrowed from another language. ‘sheep’. in some cases. the most productive mode. semantic extension-rather describes the appearance of the element. it is translated by the same lexeme as the older element. For instance. 16): 1. As mentioned earlier. The FrenchInuktitut pidgin in use in southern Labrador during the eighteenth century between French traders and local Inuit (Dorais. Surprisingly enough. Arctic Quebec Tarramiut and Labrador Inuttut use at least two lexemes which were introduced from Greenland through the Moravian translation of the Bible: saugak (Greenlandic sava). followed by extension of . and tittulautik ( a lexical item based on the Greenlandic tittuli-. 2.or. ‘tuba. if. When a newly-introduced culturalelement is perceived as being similar (in both form and function) to a traditional one. trumpet’. expressing a feature which characterizes the appearance of the element. in both form and function. Analysis of the semantic structure of the vocabulary of acculturation gives a better understanding as to why such or such a concept is translated by a particular lexeme. the respective productivity of each of the three modes of designation is not the same at all. When an element is perceived as totally new. while looking quite different from the pre-contact implement which used to play the same role. it is translated by a newly-coined word describing its function. there has been some mutual borrowing amongst Inuit dialects. the newly-coined word. It has also enabled specialists to put forward the general rules which govern the creation of a modern Inuktitut terminology (Dorais. The creation of new words constitutes. however. 1984. When an element is perceived as playing a traditional role. despite ancient contacts in southern Labrador and Arctic Quebec. When.The Canadian Inuit and their Language Borrowings from German kaattuupalak ainisik jaari situnatik sunaapintik potato (Kartoffel) one (eins) year (Jahre) hour (Stunde) Saturday (Sonnabend) 249 Besides the sources already mentioned.

00% In Arctic Quebec Tarramiut. and they very often freely mix Inuktitut and English words in the same sentence. As we shall see.06% 17. thus confirming the vitality of the language. 93): Mode of designation Creation of new words Extension of meaning Direct borrowing Labrador 62. most native translators and interpreters insist on coining new lexemes. To what extent will Inuktitut be able to find in itself the resources necessary for translating the growing body of technical and administrative terminology now available to Inuit No one knows. By comparison with other native speech forms. On the other hand. Speech forms which have been in contact with English or another language for a longer time seem to be noticeably less productive than the others.20% 17. Inuit Bilingualism Mention has already been made in this chapter of the fact that.17% 100. 1982). . the difference in the relative frequency of the modes of designation between Labrador Inuttut and Arctic Quebec Tarramiut is quite important (Dorais. 1983. according to the 1981 federal census.the first figure includes 25 natives who are not. like most other eastern Arctic speech forms. strictly speaking. however. A sizable minority of Inuit speakers are now bilingual. 1982) doubt that it is developed enough to allow for a precise translation of very specialized semantic categories.71% 5.77% 20. rather than borrowing English expressions. this is where the real problem lies.00% Tarramiut 77. The exact percentages may. vary from one dialect to another. 74 per cent of the Canadian Inuit (18.770 persons out of a total of 25. Some authors (such as Kalmar. Foster considers Inuktitut as one of only three Canadian aboriginal languages (the other two being Ojibway and Cree) that have excellent chances of survival in the future (Foster. the situation is rapidly changing.250 Louis-Jacques Domis meaning and direct borrowing. only 5 per cent of the vocabulary of acculturation has been borrowed from another language. even using English expressions that already have an Inuktitut equivalent. This means that this dialect. of Inuit ethnic origin) have Inuktitut as a first language. This is why the anthropologist Michael K. p. Despite this last fact. that percentage may be considered as high.09% 100. In this sense.390 . however. They resort more often to direct borrowing. has been able to cope very efficiently with the introduction of foreign concepts.

31): 1. the situation no longer appears as rosy as it first appeared to be. The average age of these speakers is 22 years. English surely opens the gate to a whole world of information and ideas which will remain forever inaccessible to unilinguals. which may appear encouraging.970 persons whose first language is Inuktitut speak English at home (ten persons speak French. p. These statistics maybe interpreted as either encouraging or discouraging. if only 10 per cent of Inuktitut-mother-tongue Arctic natives use another language at home. thus. in the long run. In the case of the Inuit. either as a first language or in addition to Inuktitut. 1985). constitutes an enrichment for anybody. a positive phenomenon. be detrimental to Inuktitut. a maximum of 6. Bilingualism is. basically. The proportion of Inuktitut-English bilinguals has been estimated as follows by Robitaille and Choiniere (1984. But it must not be forgotten that 1. as for most other Canadian native speech forms it is appreciably higher (Priest. The social and economic development of contemporary Canadian Inuit would be unthinkable without a sound knowledge of English.64 per cent of all Canadian Inuit declared that they were able to speak English.4 per cent of all people claiming Inuktitut as their mother tongue. the number of Inuit who actually speak their language at home is only 16. only 3 per cent 185 persons) of Englishmother-tongue Inuit speak Inuktitut in their household.390 .twothirds .745 speakers of Inuit ethnic origin) do not speak Inuktitut. which left only 34 per cent of the population speaking solely Inuktitut. and even a third language. 2. and 66 per cent .18. the relationship between fluency in English and language loss.645) can speak both Inuktitut and English.780.785 speakers (9.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 251 When one takes a closer look. they account for 39 per cent of the total population of Inuit ethnic origin. 16. and five another language).of all Canadians of Inuit origin. This last language thus seems to dominate the process of linguistic transfer. however. On the other hand. Two per cent more knew both English and French. Most studies show that knowledge of a second.655-6. 2. This dominance of English is also thrown into relief by statistics concerning bilingualism. .645 Inuit stricto sensu (25. at least 10. there are two facts which hint that bilingualism. 1984). could. For instance. These are: 1. This means that there is a net loss of 1. however. In 1981. 3.5 per cent) in favour of English (Robitaille and Choiniere. or 89.655 Inuit declare that they are able to speak English. the influence of bilingualism on knowledge of Inuktitut.010Inuit(16. Moreover. as now practised in the Arctic.


Louis-Jacques Dorais

Statistics are clear. In 1981, two thirds (66 per cent) of Canadian Inuit used Inuktitut as their home language. The same proportion-but not necessarily the same individuals - could speak English. About two-fifths of the latter did not have any knowledge of Inuktitut, which leaves us with 10,000 bilinguals. The distribution of English speakers is not the same at all in various areas of the Arctic. According to Robitaille and Choiniere (1984, p. 32), in 1981 the respective percentages of English-speaking Inuit and of unilinguals were as follows:
Arctic Quebec 26% NWT Yukon 68% Southern Canada 96%

Labrador English speakers (bilingual/unilingual) Inuktitut unilinguals 93%

Total 66%






The difference was overwhelming between Labrador, where almost all Inuit spoke some English, and Arctic Quebec, where three-quarters of the total Inuit population did not speak any English or French. In the Northwest Territories (NWT), the percentage of English speakers was quite high (68 per cent) but did not reach the proportions found in Labrador. These figures can be compared with regional statistics on language use at home (Robitaille and Choiniere, 1984, p. 34):
Arctic Labrador Quebec English as home language NWT Yukon Southern Canada


64% 35%

2% 97%

25% 75%


32% 66%

Inuktitut as home language

The two sets of figures roughly parallel one another. In Labrador, only a third of all Inuit still speak Inuktitut at home, while in Arctic Quebec, it is the case of 97 per cent of them. Here again, the Northwest Territories stand in the middle. If these statistics are now put in relation to the figures given in Table 4, it becomes clear that the ratio of Inuktitut speakers corresponds closely to that of Inuktitut users. In Labrador, 44.2 per cent of the population of Inuit ethnic origin speak Inuktitut, while for the Arctic Quebec dialect, the ratio is 96.8 per cent. With regard to the eight speech forms spoken in the

The Canadian Inuit and their Language


Northwest Territories, the average percentage of speakers is 72.3 per cent. This relative weakness is due mainly to the fact that three dialects Uummarmiutun, Siglitun and Inuinnaqtun - harbour a very low ratio of language preservation. It seems clear, then, that fluency in English-either as a first or second language - is proportional to the rate of language loss in Inuktitut. The percentage of English speakers (bilingual or unilingual) is highest in the dialects with the smallest proportions ofindividuals whose first language is Inuktitut. In Labrador, for instance, where only 44.2 per cent of the Inuit have their local dialect as mother tongue, there are 520 Inuktitut-English bilinguals, i.e. 82.5 per cent of all Inuktitut speakers. In Uummarmiutun and Siglitun, and in a majority of Inuinnaqtun communities, only a handful of elderly people do not have some knowledge of English. This knowledge has been introduced through early and intensive contacts with outside people: white trappers and traders in the western Arctic, and Moravian missionaries and European settlers in Labrador. Moreover, the early presence of a school system has greatly contributed to the diffusion of English and a parallel loss of Inuktitut. In the western Arctic for instance, missionary schools have existed since the 1920s. Here is a description of the way in which the local Inuvialuit (Inuinnaqtun, Siglitun and Uummarmiutun speakers) have suffered linguistically from these institutions:
Stories abound among Inuvialuit now in middle age of being picked up during the summer by a schooner from places as far away as Banks or Victoria Islands and taken to a mission school on the mainland. Both Anglican and Roman Catholic schools were established there in the 1920s. Often as young as eight years old, the children would arrive at school speaking only Inuvialuktun. Once boarding there, however, they were forbidden to speak their language and were punished if caught doing so. Because ice conditions - and other considerations - sometimes prevented the schooner from returning the children each summer to their parents and grandparents, they often spent several years at a mission school, with the inevitable result that they lost their native language. On their eventual homecoming, they found themselves unable to speak to their elders and were forced to relearn Inuvialuktun. In the process, their parents and grandparents learned English (Osgood, 1983, p. ix).

In Labrador, where schools have existed since the end of the eighteenth century, teaching was originally done in Inuktitut by Moravian missionaries and local Inuit. This contributed to the preservation of the language, even if, since the late nineteenth century, increasing contacts with European settlers exposed many people - mostly adult males - to English. But in 1949, Newfoundland-Labrador, then a separate British Dominion, joined the Canadian Confederation as its tenth province. All of a sudden, missionary schools were handed over to the provincial education authorities, with the following results: After Newfoundland joined the Confederation of Canada, all instruction in the


Louis-Jacques Dorais

Inuttut language was dropped. The Newfoundland curriculum was adopted and teachers were imported from England and other overseas countries, from the United States, and later from Newfoundland and other parts of Canada. During the early 1950s and 196Os, only English was used in the schools and it was only in the last four years that we have made attempts to reinstate our native language in our schools (Jeddore, 1979, p. 84).

Combined with the already existing exposure to English, this change in linguistic policies led to the present-day situation: only 44 per cent of all Labrador Inuit still speak Labrador Inuttut. There is, therefore, a real danger that uncontrolled bilingualism may be detrimental to Inuktitut. If the progress of English is left unchecked-from 1971 to 1981, the proportion of English-speaking Inuit increased from 51 to 64 per cent - what has already happened in the Western Arctic (and Labrador) could also occur in other parts of the Canadian North:
Elders in the community are bilingual in English and Inuvialuktun with a bias in use toward Inuvialtitun. Middle-aged persons are bilingual with a bias toward using English. Persons in their teens, twenties, and thirties have a passive, or comprehending, knowledge of the language but rarely speak it.. . Children of this latter group acquire little or no knowledge of the language. Unless this pattern is modified, the language could disappear altogether when these children become the adult Inuvialuit of tomorrow (Osgood, 1983, p. ix).






Another aspect of the problem is that, even if bilingual Inuit preserve their first language, their fluency in it may still be affected. Preliminary results from recent, research on bilingualism in the Canadian Eastern Arctic (Arctic Quebec and Baffin region) show that the available Inuktitut vocabulary ofaverage schoolchildren (i.e. the words with which they are most familiar on various topics) far surpasses, at first, their available English - or French, in some Quebec classrooms - vocabulary. This situation holds true until they reach the age of eleven. At that age, things change completely. On average, children then begin to be more familiar with English words, and this familiarity does not cease to grow till they leave school (D.R.F. Collis, personal communication). This dominance of English vocabulary generally occurs after having been taught in English, even if, in most cases, English schooling had been preceded by at least two years of a totally Inuktitut curriculum. Some children are so upset by linguistic problems that they become semi-lingual, i.e. only partially fluent in both Inuktitut and English. Generally speaking, then, bilingualism among younger Inuits subtractive. Progress in the second language, English or French, provokes a corollary decrease in overall knowledge of the mother tongue. Impoverish-

This means that the federal administration uses both of them when dealing with the public and -to a lesser extent -for internal purposes. for better or for worse. in the eastern Arctic. on the legal and social recognition it is granted in the territory where it is spoken. and even lead to the total disappearance of the native language. English is the sole official language. the contemporary Canadian Inuit are now well entrenched in bilingualism. Even if.1980. it can nevertheless have negative consequences. Legal Status and Social Functions of Inuktitut Apart from its demographical mass (the number of its users) and its rate of preservation. These phenomena have been observed in particular in Igloolik and in New Quebec (Saint-Aubin . a language usually depends.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 255 ment of the vocabulary is accompanied by a simplification of grammatical forms. The areas ofvocabulary which have sufferered the most are numbers and terms for zoology and spatial relationships. p. Canadian Inuktitutis no exception to the rule. Legal Status Legally speaking. which is taught in some schools. for its future maintenance. although bilingualism is basically a good thing. So. We shall now examine the legal status and social functions of Canadian Inuktitut in order to better understand its relations with English. 21). A short study of the influence of English language schooling among eastern Arctic Inuit youngsters. As we have seen. English and French are recognized by the Canadian State as the two official languages. In Arctic Quebec. has almost completely disappeared behind fluency in both Inuktitut and English. In Quebec (whose population . it still constitutes the usual language of a majority of the population. several youngsters also speak French. Canada is a bilingual country. Since 1984. which had never been very pervasive (only a handful of Inuit now speak any Indian language). Traditional Inuktitut-Cree or Inuktitut-Dene bilingualism. in eight out of ten provinces. Some verbal endings have been simplified. its legal status and social role can justifiably be examined. shows that: Two results of this schooling are impoverished vocabulary and simplified grammar among the young. the dominant majority language in Canada. EnglishFrench bilingualism has also applied in the two federal territories: Yukon and the Northwest Territories. At the provincial level. such as plural endings (which have been made more regular) and the negative conjunction. in order to better understand its chances of survival. conducted in 1975.

In the Northwest Territories. all statutes.one of the two official languages of this new entity. its use is allowed during the debates of the Territorial Legislative Assembly.000 speakers (Foster. however. and their status varies from legal non-existence. the use of the language by local municipal administrations. Inuktitut is relatively well-positioned in comparison with other native languages. in fact. And since the Inuktitut-language version of a law would have to be strictly equal to the English (or French) language version.with a total of about 150. all government documents. The teaching of Inuktitut is encouraged and public funds are allotted for language development. prevent useless waste of human and monetary resources. is officially bilingual. Besides over fifty native languages . 1985. This legal situation should not conceal the fact that Canada is a multilingual country. This would. p. this translation work would require the services of a team of Inuktitut/English translators with extensive legal training. there exists a de facto Inuktitut-English bilingualism in those areas where Inuit speakers form a majority of the population. 1984) suggests that such a move could. including simultaneous interpreting. In regional and municipal administrations.are not forbidden. the status of Inuktitut . None of them. The authors of the study rather propose that the future government of Nunavut declares priority areas for the promotion of Inuktitut. the government of Nunavut would be under the legal obligation to translate all legislative proceedings. In most Eastern Arctic communities. instead of making it official. while only one province. in their opinion.1) states that Inuktitut should become . Section 5.a multitude of speech forms introduced by immigrants of various origins are still spoken daily. to the recognizance of some education and cultural rights. and local regulations are printed in both Inuktitut and English. The only area of Inuit nunangat where it does not enjoy some legal protection is Labrador.256 Louis-Jacques Dorais is over 80 per cent francophone). a recent-and controversial -study (Mackay and Rand. as: If Inuktitut were declared an official language of Nunavut.together with English . Inuit Tapirisat of Canada’s proposal for an Inuit province called Nunavut (cf. are provided by the administration. are considered official. But even there.. municipal councils regularly use Inuktitut when deliberating. as well as its teaching in public schools -as an auxiliary subject . However. the status of the language has been partly formalized . as distinguished from the ‘official languages’. and translation services. English and French. for instance. be detrimental to the Inuit. 1982) . As such.together with Dene -is that of an ‘official aboriginal language’. the official language is French.This emphasis on legalistic forms could stretch the Inuit’s resources to the limit (Winch.. New Brunswick. In Arctic Quebec. 8).

W. Finally. the translation office of Quebec’s Secretariat aux activités gouvernementales en milieu amerindien et Inuit (SAGMAD. These include the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs translation services. So. are now routinely translated and printed in an Inuktitut version.T. all northern communications originating from Bell Canada.: Inuktitut (with several major dialects) and the four Dene languages (Harmun & Howard. Legal texts. 1984.The Canadian lnuit and their Language 257 by the James Bay Agreement (cf. but its usage is officiously recognized as compulsory within all administrative bodies. etc. and other organizations upon request. p. committees and corporations answerable to the Agreement. needs for translation have enormously increased. are trilingual (English-French-Inuktitut).W. 1983) and that as such. In educational and cultural matters. the government departments. ICC strongly supports the establishment of a standard writing system for all Inuit dialects. available to the Legislative Assembly. user’s guides. the activities of the Northwest Territories Language Bureau (formerly known as the N. at national level. Interpreters Corp. despite its non-recognition as a fully-fledged official language. For instance. 9). annual reports. the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) considers that ‘the native languages of the Inuit are technically one language’ (Inuit Circumpolar Conference. among other things. the private company which delivers telephone services to the eastern Arctic. The implementation of these rights involves. The duties of these organizations are more or less the same: to provide for the growing needs in written translation and oral interpretation within public and semi-public administrations. Inuktitut has not been made official. section on contemporary history). Provincial laws and regulations which specifically concern the Inuit are translated into their language.) are quite representative of what is done elsewhere in the Canadian Arctic: The Language Bureau of the Department of Information of the Government of the Northwest Territories maintains a staff of interpreters for the native languages. With the ethnic and political awakening of the 1970s and 198Os. For example. All Arctic administrations have established their own translation concerns. the Government of the Northwest Territories Language Bureau. . And from a pan-Arcticviewpoint. technical data. the Inuit Committee on National Issues is actively lobbying for the entrenchment of Inuit language rights in the Canadian Constitution. Makivik Corporation’s information branch and the Northern Labrador Communications Society. it should become the working language of the North. These interpreters represent the five main native languages of the N. Inuktitut officially takes precedence over French and English. Canadian Inuktitut enjoys a certain number ofjuridical or officious rights. a tremendous amount of terminological research and translation work.T.

All this seems encouraging. This means that most individuals involved in translation work must acquire their skills by themselves. there has been a virtual explosion in the volume of material which must be translated into Inuktitut. training and certification of interpreters. The only help they get is through the annual terminology conferences organized by IITAC.258 Louis-Jacques Dorais This includes advertising.to Inuktitut translation (MacDonald. the search for natural gas and the wisdom of year-round tanker traffic. the danger of oil spills in northern waters. of more than one speech form: . as well as a telephone book with a full Inuktitut syllabic section. or simultaneous use. the key concept one shall use if that of diglossia. Moreover. from English (or French) to Inuktitut. it has manifested itself in a hierarchy of levels. According to Harper. however. and application of modern technology . this situation is linked to the overall dependency of the contemporary Inuit. As we shall see. 93-4).micro-computers for instance . p. and a good interpreter is expected to be competent in the vocabulary necessary to discuss mining and mineral exploration. development of linguistic resource materials. and not the contrary. Increased political awareness has resulted in the movement to settle native land claims and a requirement has grown in that sphere for a large amount of material to be translated (Harper. whose founder and first president is Ms. monthly billing and technical information. off-shore oil development. without any systematic training. Social Functions To better understand the relationship between Inuktitut and English in Canada. Government in the north has mushroomed until it has come to pervade the lives of northerners. 20). It is the concepts and knowledge of the majority society which are conveyed to the Inuit. Together with their colleagues hired by public administrations. as elsewhere in the world. pp. This fact is meaningful. however. 1984. Inuktitut translation may help Arctic natives adapt to modernlife. from municipal. through territorial. It should be noted. since 1980. 1983. The search for non-renewable resources has become a major activity in the north. These deal with problems such as standarization of terminology. that translationis almost entirely unilateral. they usually belong to the Inuit Interpreters and Translators Association of Canada (IITAC). Because of these needs. by a population. The general importance of translation is well summarized by Kenn Harper: In the last decade. proper training constitutes the main problem of Canadian Inuit interpreters and translators. many Inuit are now working as free-lance interpreters and translators. to federal. Bernadette Immaroitok. but it does not make allowance for their own specific values and ideas. The sole organization offering any formal instruction is the Northwest Territories Language Bureau.

literature) are performed in the dominant language: English or French. English and French in Arctic Quebec. it is probably illusory to imagine that radical social changes will occur in the near future. which literally translates very specialized Western concepts. then? First of all. 1981. but it is generally more symbolic than real (Dorais. forgetting their ultimate economic and political goals. non-specialized jobs and. p. ranging from the unabridged version of laws and agreements to the verbatim accounts of parliamentary debates. It gives the impression that the State has done its duty for the promotion of Inuktitut.their culture and language will remain. government. it does not contribute to increasing their dependency on southern institutions. sometimes. 1984. Inuktitut.and such an autonomy can very well work within the framework of the Canadian Confederation. practically speaking. 304). Thus. 306).. give good conscience to Ottawa. for all that.. one can only wonder if the recognition of Inuktitut as a bona fide language in the Canadian Arctic brings any real measure of economic. They are the most valued. will not have any real chance of development. 1981. to help young children during their first years at school. Yellowknife or Quebec officials. as having done their duty towards Inuit. When questioned about their reading abilities. What should be done. Inuktitut may have some official status. Their language. but by doing so. it conceals the real. Which means that for the time being. 26). Each of these languages has its specific functions and value. As long as the Arctic natives do not become economically and politically autonomous . p. As for unilinguals. they are generally rebuffed by the style and contents of most translations: These translations. In fact. that of second-class citizens. is not readily understandable for most Inuit. What percentage of the thousands of pages translated into Inuktitut each year is useful to -or even read by-the Inuit? Not very much. One of these objectives could consist in devising an effective cultural and linguistic policy. this type of undertaking often has a merely symbolic value.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 259 This is a state of linguistic relations where two or more unequal languages co-exist: Inuktitut and English in the Northwest Territories and Labrador. The few people who really need these texts generally prefer to read them in the English version (Dorais. . fundamental problem: to help the Inuit devise social rules and institutions which would be their own rather than poor imitations of those of the southern Canadian establishment. and as such. the Inuit must work on more concrete objectives without. Inuktitut and other native languages are used only for ‘lower tasks: private conversations. p. political and social autonomy to the Inuit. English and another native language in some areas of the Mackenzie Delta. The ‘higher’ functions (higher education. well-paying work. or if. But they are quite useless. Inuktitut. a majority of bilinguals state that they read English far better than Inuktitut (Prattis and Chartrand. on the contrary. Arctic Quebec and Labrador.

than that of the younger people raised in settled communities. reading schemes. 8. as we have seen. children at home and general broadcasting. They suggest nine elements which. 1983-5). this ideological value ascribed to Inuktitut has led to an ambitious attempt at linguistic revival. 9. 5.which.collected data.under the sponsorship of the local Inuit association (COPE) . support and financing for Inuktitut medium instruction at all levels of the education system. including radio and television programmes for schools. p. in Inuktitut. 2. 135).Uummarmiutun. In one area of the Northwest Territories. and if children shall be able to learn their grandparents’ native dialects as second languages. It can even be said that for many Arctic politicians and ideologists.those familiar with the traditional way of life. who are among the very few authors having written on these problems. use of Inuktitut in administrative. 6.or Inummariit . use of Inuktitut in community education and cultural programmes. From 1981 to 1984. through school education. In any case. teachers fluent in English and Inuktitut. 3. educators and. 1984. official recognition of Inuktitut.260 Louis-Jacques Dorais According to Prattis and Chartrand. if implemented. support for Inuktitut in the mass media. 46-7): 1. 7. native speakers . above all. insertion of bilingual education within a wider community education programme. the only way for the Inuit to retain their native identity is to establish in the Canadian Arctic a bilingualism/biculturalism policy which would demonstrate that Inuktitut is as useful and valuable as English or French. this undertaking shows that considerable value is attached to Inuktitut as a symbol of native ethnic identity. Such a language is often proposed as a model to schoolchildren and other youngsters (Brody. would contribute to such a policy (Prattis and Chartrand. the Inuvik (Mackenzie) Region. Many of these suggestions are also voiced by the Inuit themselves who realize that native language and culture are essential to their overall development. Lowe. For instance. at all levels. Siglitun and Kangiryuarmiut Inuinnaqtun . curriculum design and production of Inuit literature. Only the future will tell if these efforts are worthwhile. 4. is much more sophisticated and elegant in both its vocabulary and grammar. are now on the verge of extinction (cf. in particular. pp. establishment of major centres for teacher training. it is generally admitted throughout Inuit nunangat that the speech of the older Inuit . . bureaucratic and legal structures. language. a team of linguists. 1975. has become a symbol of Inuit identity. the three local dialects . worked on grammars and dictionaries and prepared pedagogical materials in order to revive. to increase its social standing.

it may be seen that the social position of Inuktitut in the Canadian Arctic has both positive and negative aspects. This excludes granting any real decisional power to the Inuit. it is now considered legitimate and progressive to teach Inuktitut in public schools. It is clear that since the 198Os. In the specific case of Quebec. In Canada. which are basically political. while their knowledge of English.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 261 Care should be taken. Economic. there has been tremendous progress since the early 1970s in public recognition and usage of the language. the ‘petty bourgeoisie’) considers it essential to its interests to strengthen its authority over the whole provincial territory (Dorais. p. 1981. preferably the first. in terms of cultural demands. Inuktitut cannot compete with English. as their mother tongue is erroneously perceived as not suited to modern life. despite their intrinsic value. not to confine Inuit claims to linguistic and cultural matters. cannot permit them to cope adequately with modern life. culture and philosophy. So. French are the dominant languages. cannot ensure them a dominant position in Canadian society (Dorais. to a lesser extent. the federal and provincial governments have tended to interpret native claims. it should not be forgotten that Inuktitut functions within a general diglossic situation. Despite enormous progress in the fields of education. Language is an essential component of the native identity of most Inuit associations and individuals. The relations between this native language and English are basically unequal. 1979). educational and social promotion are impossible without proper knowledge of at least one of them. On the other hand. the sociolinguistic situation in the Arctic reinforces the overall dependency of the Inuit. however. translation and official recognition. In this sense. On the one hand. This mere fact explains that as long as things remain as they are. English and. translate all kinds of materials into this speech form and grant it quasi-official status. however. the economic and strategic importance of the Arctic is too great to risk losing control over any portion of the North. even when it is very good. with no real progress being made for over fifteen years on questions pertaining to economic self-sufficiency or political autonomy. Contrary to previous practice. Only when Arctic natives feel that it is . This explains why emphasis has been placed on education. and the struggle for linguistic rights is integrated into their overall social and political strategy. the French Canadian nationalist elite (in sociological terms. Inuktitut-English bilingualism cannot but lead to the gradual degradation and disappearance of a native speech form which has become marginal: It (bilingualism) enforces the marginality of local people. For the Canadian authorities. because the overwhelming presence and power of southern Canadian majority institutions in Inuit nunangat tend to convince many people -even if they are not ready to admit it-that their native language. 306). media development and translation. This is exactly what the governing class wants.

but still uniquely bruit. different from traditional culture. political and church history was taught to adults (Anonymous.262 Louis-Jacques Dorais possible for them to create a new type of society. was an Inuktitut school system established early. the syllabic and western Arctic alphabetical orthographies. were left entirely in the hands of the Inuit. and only a tiny minority benefited from it. who took charge of transmitting reading and writing skills among themselves. As already mentioned. The only outsiders interested in bringing some kind of Western-style education to the Inuit were the missionaries. cook and perform all the tasks necessary for survival of the group. once introduced by the missionaries. the Moravian missionaries opened a school at Nain. as early as 1791. and by 1843 practically all Moravian Inuit could read and write their language. Linguistic. the historical development of Inuit formal education shall be dealt with first. . English was to be the principal teaching language. things began to change. fish. Labrador. sew. When the Anglicans and Catholics began establishing their first schools during the third decade of the twentieth century. Knowledge was transmitted orally from father to son and mother to daughter. Adult literacy classes were started in 1805-6. With the arrival of the Europeans in the Canadian Arctic. will the survival of Inuktitut be completely ensured. It will be followed by a short description of currently available school materials for Inuktitut classes. 37). although very slowly at the beginning. inseparable from each other. as we have seen. the advent of this feeling is likely to stem from economic cooperation among people and from political autonomy. From 1853 on. In most areas of Inuit nunungat. Only in one area. As many Inuit leaders are now aware. It has always been intimately linked to Canadian and provincial policies pertaining to native northern peoples. If they wanted their new converts to be able to use the Christian Scriptures. This is why. thus. cultural and political rights are. Teaching Inuktitut in Canada Teaching Inuktitut must be understood within the social and political context just described. The Development of Inuit Education Traditional Inuit did not have any formal schooling system. they had to teach them how to read. p. It was by imitating their parents that children progressively learned how to hunt. The only remotely systematic training in existence was the one given by the shaman to his or her apprentice. 1971. in this section.

As already mentioned. the undesirability of disturbing the native way of life except where it was absolutely imperative (Jenness. ibid. elementary bookkeeping and. It emphasized the position of the Labrador Inuit within both the Moravian Church and the British Empire.and a boarding-school -with 193 pupils out of a total of 1. Within a few years. In 1914. dealt with Bible and church history. 38).1965. 1965.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 263 The Labrador schools followed the Greenlandic model. and college facilities exist in Goose Bay-Happy Valley . As we have seen. these last accounting for about 20 per cent of the population (Jenness. second. later on by Inuit and missionary teachers. the Labrador Moravians were operating six mission stations and one so-called ‘preaching place’. At the end of the 196Os. it found its way among the Arctic Quebec Inuit. who had never been to school. the need to impart a sound knowledge of the Christian religion and.but this occurred at the expense of the native tongue. geography and government. A typical Moravian textbook of the late nineteenth century. Schools were open four days a week and accepted children from the age of six. and that despite differences in the writing system. p. 1965. together with the presence of a sizeable minority of English-speaking settlers. elementary geography and history. singing and carpentry were also taught. the study of the Bible (Jenness. general world history. Schools did not grade pupils. but their curriculum was equivalent to about three years of elementary schooling. simple arithmetic.one mission possessed both a day.235 baptized Inuit and European settlers. In 1975 a few weekly hours of written Inuktitut . first by missionaries.). such as the one by Martin (1899). According to Jenness: Two principles governed the education offered in these schools: first. the Moravian schools were handed over to the provincial education authorities and English became the sole teaching language overnight. The informant’s knowledge came directly from Martin’s book. personal communication). an anthropology student doing fieldwork near Kuujjuaq was quite surprised when one of his oldest informants. started telling him about how the ‘big king’ (atanirjuaq 1 Napoleon had been defeated by the Russians a long time before (Donat Savoie. the availability of education increased drastically . as Moravians were also present in Greenland. Teaching was exclusively in Inuktitut. p. It should be noticed that Martin’s book was used well into the twentieth century. The curriculum consisted of practical subjects only: reading. This system continued until 1949 when Newfoundland-Labradorjoined the Canadian Confederation. They had eight schools . of course. Sewing. 41). English-language formal education is responsible for the fact that Labrador Inuttut is now spoken by only 44 per cent of the local Inuit population. writing.most northern Labrador schools now offer secondary level classes.

benefited greatly from the presence of a population uneducated in southern terms. Accordingly. outside Labrador. English only was allowed in the boarding-school grounds. Contrary to the dayschools. After 1920. but it seems doubtful if it can reverse the current trend toward linguistic assimilation. . they received annual grants from the Federal Government (Jenness. one (Catholic) at Aklavik and the other (Anglican) at Shingle Point (it transferred to Aklavik in 1936). From 1922-3. There was no fixed curriculum. This is why. Apart from its programme of grants. the social and economic conditions of the Inuit changed completely after the war. this attitude of non-interference was motivated by a desire not to spend too much money on northern administration. 15). those of the trading companies. and the Government recognized that the native popula- . It should be added that until World War II. For many high-ranking civil servants. the Inuit did not really need a southern-style education. religious competition between the Anglicans and Catholics led them to consider opening mission schools as an effective means for encouraging conversions. As seen in the section on society and economy in Arctic Canada today. in 1929. are very simple. As one assistant to the Minister of the Interiorput it: ‘The educational requirements of the Eskimos . the other missionaries did not establish Inuit schools from the very beginning. Northern regions suddenly became very important. in a region of the country regarded as almost economically useless. 1964). They were rather perceived as marginal citizens. . the dominant economic interests in the Arctic. school attendance was not very regular. without any chance of ever participating in the overall development of the country. where some Inuktitut was used. 1935. both strategically and economically. and their mental capacity to assimilate academic teaching is limited’ (Bethune. In contrast with the Moravians. Moreover. and which supplied furs and other local products without asking for much in return. but as most Inuit were still nomadic or semi-nomadic. p. seven mission schools had been established in the Arctic. According to Jenness (1964. most missionaries became part-time teachers. to the near extinction of the Inuvialuit dialects. This led. Pupils acquired basic notions of arithmetic. p. geography and English. These were intended to serve the Inuit population of the entire western Arctic. Their number grew with the missionary expansion of the late 1930s and 1940s reaching an approximate total of 30 in 1950. two boarding-schools were established in the Mackenzie Delta. By 1937. the Canadian Government refused to become involved in northern schools. however. nobody thought that they were mentally fit for academic studies. as mentioned in Section 8. The Government felt that the development of public schools would be too expensive and that it would entail the sudden appearance of various social needs.264 Louis-Jacques Dorais were added to the Nain elementary school curriculum under the aegis of the Labrador Inuit Association. 321.

then. There were no places in traditional Inuit culture where children were herded together for a set number of hours a day to learn how to become functioning adults. the development of a complete system of southern-style school education and the systematic teaching of English became privileged ways for impressing the young Inuit with dominant Western values. most federal schools did not offer classes beyond the first elementary grades. No wonder. a boarding high school for Inuit students was established at Churchill. the mere existence of a school system constituted a culture shock for Inuit children: Our school system is alien not only because it has been developed and is being run by non-Inuit: it is alien because it is a system. the curriculum and teachers were all imported from southern Canada. Until the beginning of the 196Os.l96Os and early 1970s as the dark ages of northern education. 1979. from 1948 on. 1964. In 1963. six-year old Inuktitut unilinguals would regularly sit for six hours a day in the classroom. the time when their language and culture were knowingly being destroyed by southern institutions: . such as Inuvik. In 1964. according to S. one in Inuvik and the other in Chesterfield Inlet (Keewatin). Iqaluit and Kuujjuaq. Accordingly. there was no sub-set of adults who devoted their lives to instruction. that the Inuit now consider the 195Os. Assimilation was seen as the ultimate goal for the younger generation. Only one mission school was still in operation (Jenness. In the first grade. received children from outlying camps. p. Many children were also sent to southern Canada for secondary or vocational education. an experienced and respected Arctic educator. 66). But the culture and language of the Inuit were now considered as hindrances to their full integration into mainstream society. Because the school was consciously meant as a tool of assimilation. the Federal Government gradually established day-schools in all Northwest Territories and Arctic Quebec population centres. Furthermore. In addition.T. listening to a qallunaaq (Euro-Canadian) teacher discoursing in a language totally unintelligible to them. With this in mind. that pupils were able to reach tenth grade. 37 of these were already operating and three more were projected. It is only in a few more important settlements. About 60 per cent of all school-age children were enrolled in the system and. or to educational administration. two hostels. or to the preparation of instructional materials. Older pupils understood a little more. 125). and a few years later. but the contents of the curriculum were generally completely foreign to their previous experience.Mallon. by 1970. another one was opened in Iqaluit.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 265 tions should receive the same services as other Canadians. the figure had risen to 100 per cent. English was the only language used. Naturally enough. To put it as extremely as possible: the mere building of a school could be said to be an alien act of cultural aggression (Mallon. Manitoba. p.

then. higher grades were subsequently added to the provincial schools. translation and interpretation facilities. 1985. For various reasons. after all. where the medium of instruction was English.266 Louis-Jacques Dorais Inuktitut has suffered much opposition in recent decades. As in many other domains. Northern schools tried to assimilate Inuit children into the southern. This competition had at least one positive consequence. Teaching activities were then extended to the first two grades of the elementary schools. The medium of instruction was Inuktitut. and these worked under the direction of certified qallunaat teachers who had acquired a minimal knowledge of the native language. and provincial schools never enrolled more than a minority (around 20 per cent) of school-age children. From the very beginning. Determined to gain administrative control over its northern territories. Happily those days are over and now northern governments are supporting Inuktitut language publications. during a lecture delivered to the Northwest Territories qallunat teachers. arguing that. films. so that by the early 1970s some federal schools. For instance. things really began to change with the establishment of Inuit associations and the attempted settlement of native claims. the federal system maintained its popularity. By 1970. 14). The first breach in the assimilatory policies of the Canadian State appeared during the mid-196Os. education was under provincial -rather than federal -jurisdiction. from 1964 on. where Inuktitut andFrench were taught. Most villages. Inuit teaching aids were employed. Inuit leaders insisted on the fact that Arctic natives totally refused assimilation into the dominant society. as a by-product of the federal-provincial competition in Arctic Quebec. Tagak Curley. English-speaking way of life. in Arctic Quebec as well as in the Northwest Territories. Inuit television and radio broadcasting stations and networks Immaroitok and Jull. Sometimes children sent south for hospital care or schooling returned totally unable to communicate with their parents. began offering Inuktitut instruction in the very first grades (kindergarten instruction may have been offered earlier). and a provincial one. The idea gradually made headway. the Arctic Quebec authorities decided to offer educational services as yet unheard of. In the bigger communities. possessed two competing schools. using French as the teaching language. In order to build their own clientele. p. Arctic Quebec harboured a double school system: a federal one. It showed the Inuit that their language could be used as a medium ofinstruction. school materials. They first opened kindergartens under the supervision of Inuktitut-speaking monitors. the Quebec Provincial Government. dictionaries. first president of Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. began opening its own schools to Inuit. even those that were very small (sometimes less than 150 inhabitants). declared: .

ibid. Native languages Inuktitut and Dene ..were now recognized as legitimate media and subjects ofinstruction. the Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly (1982) still wonders to what extent native languages should be used within the school system. It has been indicated by Inuit that they do not accept this total assimilation which is threatening our values today. As yet. The educational role of Inuktitut is therefore far from settled. despite some collaboration amongst educators. there is a certain amount of duplication. In the western Arctic. Community schools were now supervised by local education councils which had a word to say about teaching policies and curricula. although the quality of these materials is somewhat unequal from one school to another. around 1973. The result is a generation of students ill-equipped to fit into either of these two interdependent worlds (Prattis and Chartrand.They have the language. and most of all they are the majorities in the settlements in which you will be teaching (Curley. But these intentions have never been implemented: A ‘bits-and-pieces’ approach has by and large replaced any consistent policy. The Government of the Northwest Territories has already committed itself by outlining ‘a programme that intended to establish the native language fluency and literacy as a priority to be followed then by an English language programme and a support programme for the native language’ (Prattis and Chartrand. 1984. But it is too early to draw any conclusion about this interesting experiment. p. Most eastern Arctic schools offer Inuktitut courses. There seems to be a lack of awareness of what a bilingual programme means in terms of preparing minority culture bearers to enter the wider national community while at the same time supporting the local level community. 10). the administration of the school system was transferred from the federal to the territorial government. however.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 267 Most of all. educational efforts are extremely scattered. l-2). It has been said by many Inuit and Inuit organizations that there is room in our Canadian Society for Inuit to live in harmony if their rights to participate are recognized. p. they have the traditional economy. 1984. In a long report on education. but there is still no centralized curriculum authority.). 1975. in a very few years. The Inuit’s own interest in their linguistic and cultural survival led. as we have seen. In the Northwest Territories. from kindergarten up to grades two or three.. . This action resulted in more local control over educational matters. I admire Canadian Inuit for resisting the total assimilation attempted by the dominant Canadian society through their present educational policy which you serve. to drastic changes in Arctic education. Teaching materials in Inuktitut are produced locally and. Policies and monetary allocations permitted the training and hiring of Inuit teachers as well as the production of school materials. Inuktitut is now being introduced into the schools as a second language.

singing. the Kativik School Board is the sole educational authority in the Quebec section of Inuit nunungat. From Grade 3 on. According to Kativik’s plans. McGill University. 9).in terms of bilingualism . McGill University also offers academic support to the Northwest Territories’ Eastern Arctic Teacher Education Program based in Iqaluit.rather than a medium . University of Ottawa and University of Saskatchewan). There are two or three graduates every year. this is not yet really feasible. but these courses are aimed at . but intensive.at the vocational college facilities of Fort Smith on the southern border of the Territories.administrative supervision through elected commissioners and local school committees it has been granted special powers in the fields of education policies. they are trained. Except for some sections of the teacher training programmes. teaching in Inuktitut is to be extended up to the high school level.63. etc. The evaluation and revision of the programme is an ongoing process. Grade 1 and Grade 2 are taught exclusively in Inuktitut in almost all schools. The School Board also maintains that all programs and teaching materials in second language for all levels and in all subject areas must be developed specifically for Inuit students and must reflect the changes in northern society. Arctic Quebec schools show more or less the same pattern . Kativik School Board operates its own Inuktitut teacher training programme in conjunction with McGill University in Montreal (which issues a Certificate in Northern Education). through a special monitoring project. The James Bay Agreement has guaranteed the Inuits’ right to control education (provisions 17. Universite Lava1 in Quebec City.17.) often given by local residents. Teachers are trained on the job. in consideration with elders.0.17. biannual academic sessions. 1986. Such development must be done in close connection with Inuit educators (Kativik School Board. including language policies. Inuktitut becomes a subject . As concerns the western Arctic Inuit teachers.of instruction. Practically speaking. p. The curriculum also includes courses on various aspects of Inuit culture (hunting. This ensures that they are culturally relevant and that they respect the learning style of Inuit students.65).together with Dene students . Above Grade 2. Besides the ordinary prerogatives of any school board . there is no college or university level education in Inuktitut so far.268 Louis-Jacques Dorais In Arctic Quebec.as many Northwest Territories institutions. curriculum development and teacher training: Kativik programs and teaching materials in Inuktitut are developed by Inuit teachers and counsellors.64 and 17.59.0. the Child Observation Program within Inuit Teacher Training (COPITI’). but due to the shortage of qualified Inuit teachers and adapted educational materials.0. sewing. Kindergarten. with short.0. matters are a little different. parents have the choice between English or French as the principal teaching language. The language is taught in a few southern universities (Memorial University of Newfoundland. Since 1978.

127). The curriculum is still overwhelmingly English (or French). there is an Arctic College at Iqaluit but. Since 1984. against 16 per cent of the total population of Canada (Robitaille and Choiniere. In the Keewatin and Baffin regions.Inuktitut restricted to the first grades .. over 75 per cent have less than five years’ teaching experience. For all practical ends. This kind of situation may be detrimental to Inuktitut. only 39 per cent of the Canadian Inuit had completed Grade 9 (against 80 per cent for the total Canadian population). 20). almost nothing systematic is done. Ironically enough. In 1981. or who have reached no farther than the second grade (Jenness.. then it might have a similar effect on the learning of English. 1984.although the Eastern Arctic Teacher Education Program is attempting to rectify this situation (Prattis and Chartrand. 1981. as seen in the section on bilingualism and knowledge of Inuktitut. 1984. eleven-year old children are more comfortable with English words than with their own native vocabulary. 35-6). even after three or four years of Inuktitut schooling. 1 per cent in the Northwest Territories. and what Prattis and Chartrand have to say about the Northwest Territories also applies to Arctic Quebec and Labrador: The majority of teachers in Northern schools are typically white. and over 50 per cent have less than two years (Government of the Northwest Territories. for the time being. the anthropologist Diamond Jenness. While the number of Inuit teachers has increased over the years they constitute only a small proportion of the teaching force. . The overall educational developments from the early 1950s also account for the rather low academic achievement of many Inuit.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 269 non-Inuit students. 1964. pp. it uses English almost exclusively as the medium of instruction. albeit real efforts now being made to adapt it to the northern context.as the best way to facilitate the proper learning of English: If it is true. p. who favoured linguistic assimilation toward English. teaching in Inuktitut is still in its infancy. p. Despite tremendous progress over the last ten years. unilingual (English) and make up a portion of the transitory population in the North. as they(the Greenland school authorities) have sometimes claimed. about twenty years ago. 24). and could profitably be used in Canada also during the next ten or fifteen years with children who are just beginning their schooling. suggested such a curriculum . but 7 per cent in Labrador) had acquired some college or university education. Most educators are non-Inuit. and this despite continuous efforts in the fields of adolescent and adult education. p.. The same year. that initial teaching in Eskimo accelerates the learning of Danish later. This situation may explain why. beyond Grades 2 or 3.. 4 per cent of all Canadian Inuit (3 per cent in Arctic Quebec. and only 19 per cent had obtained a high school diploma.

cultural handbooks. grades l-2 (44 titles) Games (7 titles) Tapes and slides (10 titles) Language and culture. posters. mathematical exercises and dictionaries. as well as between Canada. When dialectal differences are not too marked. all of these materials have been specifically designed for Inuit schools. materials produced in one area may sometimes be used in another. Inuktitut School Materials As mentioned earlier. 1980). in order to discover and transpose into school materials the basic arithmetical concepts that are specific to Inuktitut (Denny.or even partial . It is impossible to draft a complete .270 Louis-Jacques Dorais Nevertheless. colouring books. substantial progress has been made. Except for a few short stories for children (such as ‘The Three Little Pigs’). There now exists a whole generation of youngsters who have learned to read. as well as many community schools in the Northwest Territories and-to a lesser degree Labrador. . picture cards. grade 3 and upwards (85 titles) Language and culture. They are divided into five categories: Kindergarten. 1985). readers and syllabic scrabble games to Inuit stories and legends (nine readers and workbooks). Greenland and Alaska. The Kativik School Board. This is why propositions such as those of Barbara Burnaby (Burnaby. special semantic research has been done. Most Arctic natives now take for granted that their language is to be used at all academic levels. the various agencies involved in Inuit education are busy preparing school materials. There is a regular exchange of information among educational authorities. who suggests that aboriginal language literacy should be limited to a few native specialists. children’s stories. 1986) lists no less than 154 different titles. write and calculate in their native tongue. instead of translating already existing manuals.list of existing documents. all of them in syllabic writing (sometimes with an accompanying English text). music tapes. Young Inuit are far better educated than their elders. secondary level (8 titles) Materials range from writing books for beginners. In the field of mathematics for instance. animal books. 1982). have already produced a few hundred titles in both English and Inuktitut. A compilation of Inuktitut materials available to Kativik School Board teachers and students (Cram. and teaching in Inuktitut is considered an essential part of the curriculum. have been strongly opposed by educators involved in Inuit curriculum development (Stairs. both as a medium and as a subject of instruction. in most cases by Inuit teachers and authors.

these deal exclusively with Inuit culture and with language as a subject ofinstruction. this explains why the total exceeds 154): Kindergarten Grade 1 Grade 2 Grade 3 Grade 4 Grade 5 Grade 6 Secondary l-3 Secondary 4-5 19 titles 36 titles 28 titles 52 titles 52 titles 61 titles 48 titles 22 titles 7 titles As can be seen. Using Inuktitut in the Mass Media In the absence.both written and electronic . p. teachers would benefit by using Inuit media . 1965. as well as about foreign lands (Jenness. which would. After an eclipse of fifty years.in the classroom. social and cultural information as well as reports on current events in Labrador. 40).The Canadian Inuit and their Language 271 In Arctic Quebec then . for the time being. of such materials. If the Arctic natives want their mother tongue to be used as a medium of instruction in higher grades. geography. this publication was brought back to life by a team of young native journalists in 1972 under the title Kinatuinanot illengujuk (‘Meant for anyone’). Entitled Aglait Illunainortut (‘Written things for everyone’). at the same time. . it gave information on Labrador and other parts of the British Empire. it has now become a weekly bilingual newsletter.although a few issues may have appeared at irregular intervals earlier -by the Labrador Moravian missionaries. First appearing twice a month. there are a great many teaching materials in Inuktitut. Written Media The first Canadian Inuktitut periodical was published once a year between 1902 and 1922 . be written in Inuktitut and adapted to the Inuit way of thinking. efforts will have to be made to devise genuine teaching materials for history.and the situation is quite similar in that part of the Northwest Territories where syllabics are in use -each school grade can count on the following numbers of Inuktitut materials (some titles may be used in more than one grade. social studies and science. But beyond Grade 2. containing a variety of economic.

sometimes. published in Nain. In 1959. These are generally bilingual (InuktitutEnglish) or. it appeared at irregular intervals between 1953 and 1956. and very often. First called Eskimo Bulletin. English and French. llauut / Our Family. As soon as it became fully involvedin the administration of the Inuit. syllabics and Roman orthography Inuktitut. It was not until the 1940s and 1950s that there was any systematic establishment of periodicals using Inuktitut as a medium of communication. together. the title and format were changed and it became Inuktitut magazine.272 Louis-Jacques Dorais The Moravians’ early attempt at journalism in Labrador Inuttut was exceptional. trilingual (with the addition of French). Robin McGrath (McGrath. They also seem to . in English. social and historical topics. called Inungnun tuimainun (‘To all Inuit’). linguistic. In 1964 it changed its title to Inungnun (‘To the Inuit’). The Moravians did the same with Moraviamiut Labradorime/Lubrador Moravians. Of the seventy-four Inuktitut periodicals listed by McGrath. Nowadays. we are left with a total of seventy-four titles whose language of publication is or was Inuktitut. defined as ‘newsletters. Dealing with various cultural. in Arctic Quebec. 130). most of these were short-lived. 1984. The newly-created Inuit organizations sensed the need to convey information about their activities through their own publications. 1984. it usually appears in four languages: Baffin or Aivilik Inuktitut (syllabic writing). Appendix 3) has attempted to draw up as complete a listing as possible of Inuit periodicals. with English and. In the early 1950s the Anglicans launched their own publication. With the 1970s another generation ofperiodicals was born: the associations’ newsletters and magazines. several Inuit nunangat communities began publishing their own news bulletins. Once again the first initiatives in this domain came from the missionaries. the Canadian Government started publishing a bilingual English/Inuktitut information bulletin. thereby indicating a turnover rate of around 45 per cent for Inuit journals. newspapers and magazines by. in most cases. About forty of these titles were still appearing in 1985. French. stenciled typewritten or even handwritten pages in both Inuktitut and English. Many famous Inuit authors originally published in such media. In 1941 the Catholic Oblate Fathers started publishing a biannual magazine in syllabic orthography. they none the less provided the Arctic natives with an opportunity to express their ideas and feelings on various topics. Labrador Inuttut or Baffin Inuktitut (Roman orthography). Often consisting of a few photocopied. p. for and about Canadian Inuit’ (McGrath. the most numerous are the community newsletters (twenty-four). a quarterly publication now under the responsibility of the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs’ Cultural Linguistic Section. If the periodicals making exclusive use of English or French are removed from the list. no issues have been preserved. Unfortunately. From 1960 onwards. in Ottawa. all of them publish at least one title.

four periodicals do not belong to any of the preceding categories. and one still is. Cree and Montagnais translations. has ceased to appear. ‘Something can be done’) is the magazine of the Inuit Cultural Institute of Eskimo Point Arviat. Igallaq (‘The window’) and Ilisarniq (‘Education’) catered to the information needs of the Inuit living in southern Canada. published weekly in Iqaluit since 1972. the already mentioned Inuktitut magazine). Seven titles are religious. From 1972 to 1977. an Ottawa-based private company specializing in syllabic editing and word processing. Inuksiutiit allaniagait (‘Written things to be used by the Inuit’) is a series of texts in syllabics by Arctic Quebec Inuit writers issued once every two years by the Inuksiutiit katimajiit Association (Universiti Laval. and one each from the Northwest Territories and Quebec governments. Caribou News informs the public.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 273 be the most short-lived. While Inuit Today is bilingual (Inuktitut/English). northern news. published by Nor-text Information Design Ltd. Both publications deal with Inuit policies. six were still in publication in 1985. could be compared. about the management of the Keewatin caribou herds. Three of them still appear regularly: Ajurnarmat (‘Nothing can be done’. Inuktitut written media are alive and well in Canada. Inummurit (‘The real Inuit’). Co-op North is the newspaper of Arctic Co-operatives Ltd. Two of them were. Them Days. The others consist chiefly of local news bulletins. Finally. with inserted Inuktitut. although occasionally texts are translated into Labrador Inuttut. They have been or are still published by the various churches at work in the Arctic. later called Ajurnanngimmat. with over forty titles appearing in 1985. it published cultural materials from the Igloolik area. they contribute greatly to fostering Inuit identity. Only one of them. From 1978 to 1985. Of the fifteen government periodicals in Inuktitut listed by McGrath. Four of them came from the Federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (among them. in both Inuktitut and English. Only one title. published by the Labrador Heritage Society in Happy Valley. Inuit Today (formerly Inuit Monthly) has been published in Ottawa on a monthly basis by Inuit Tapirisat of Canada since 1971. with certain southern newspapers. Two of them stand in particular prominence in view of their size and format. . Quebec). social problems and Arctic life in general. Taqralik is the official magazine of Makivik Corporation in Arctic Quebec. Clearly. in terms of contents and circulation. as only nine of them were still appearing in 1985 for a turnover rate of 60 per cent. Four more periodicals emanate from cultural organizations. It has appeared monthly since 1974. Together with native electronic media. The latter is a quarterly journal called Rencontre published in French and English. mostly contains articles in English. English and French). The second most numerous category is that of the periodicals issued by Inuit associations (twenty titles). Taqralik uses three languages (Inuktitut. Nunutsiaq News (formerly Inukshuk).

but a daily 45. it was essential that they be kept informed of what was going on in the outside world: As a result. Within a few years. Eskimos. but the service was highly appreciated. operating out of Montreal. 1983. all Hudson Bay Company trading posts. p. The Inuvik station also started broadcasting in both Western Inuktitun and Dene languages.and give them a sense of identity with their fellow Canadians’ (Hendrie. The latter broadcast seven hours a day. in 1958. the CBC Northern Service completely reorganized its programming. The first regular programme to be broadcast from southern Canada was The Northern Messenger in which messages directed to Euro-Canadians residing in the North were read over the air (Hendrie. Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachments and religious missions were equipped with low-powered transmitters/receivers. as well as of messages from Inuit patients in southern hospitals which were reached over the air. Inuvik and Churchill. There were nine ground stations (two of them. In 1972. which could be fed from three sources: . p. Radio reception was often very poor. The CBC Northern Service began transmitting in 1960. Technological developments in the field of communications. p. whatever their origin. Later on. Local communities were provided with low-powered FM transceivers. if the northern natives were to be integrated into mainstream society. brought about the desired changes. but they continued mainly in Inuktitut. the need was felt for a radio network that would provide northern citizens. By the mid-1970s. 1983. 27). The objective was to ‘provide a broadcast service to meet the particular needs and tastes of people living in the North .Indians. parliament voted funds to carry out the recommendations to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) outlined in the report of the Royal Commission on Broadcasting.274 Louis-Jacques Dorais Electronic Media Radio transmissions in the Canadian Arctic began around 1925. mainly in English and-to a far lesser extent-French. with the same kind of services as those available in the rest of the country. 26). national and northern news. But it was not enough. The Inuit rightfully considered that the northern radio service should include much more local content and that reception conditions should be improved.to 60-minute period was set apart for Inuktitut programming. within lnuit nunangat) and a short-wave service. some programmes were produced in Iqaluit. 123). together with the establishment of Inuit pressure groups and associations. only 17 per cent of CBC Northern Service short-wave programming was in Inuktitut (Valaskakis. With post-war social changes in the Arctic. A Royal Commission on Broadcasting reported to the Federal Government in 1957 that. 1983. Métis and whites . This consisted of international.

This service was extended to the Eastern Arctic community of Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit) in 1972. television programming was introduced to the first of 17 communities in the Western Arctic through delayed transmission of video tapes in 4 hour packages. on national networks. Nowadays. This formula enabled village residents to mix. Inuit music. therefore. local announcements or. of the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC). the programming may originate from the community itself. Inuit radio thus plays an essential part in the life of contemporary Arctic communities. 1977. Television is a more recent . where anybody may phone toll-free in order to give his or her opinion on the air. an Inuit production centre based in both Salluit (Arctic Quebec) and Ottawa. and. National programming is fed to a regional station/production centre where it is blended with regional programming to form a feed which is then transmitted by satellite to remote communities. very popular open lines. Some programmes coming from Montreal on the CBC Arctic Quebec or Eastern Arctic Services (now two separate networks) also use the native language. Canada launched the Anik A satellite which delivers telephone and CBC television service to the North (Valaskakis. This new medium became available to all Arctic communities in the autumn of 1973. Nowadays. p. At first. these communities may substitute some of their production for network programming by accessing the local re-broadcast transmitter with their own simple studio equipment (Hudson. The situation was modified somewhat with the establishment of Taqramiut Nipingat (‘The voice of the Northerners’).amongst them. 123). almost all Inuit communities operate their own local radio station.half an hour a week in 1976 according to Graburn (1982:10) This is why many communities . and (3) a small radio studio located in the community itself. (2) a regional production centre Uqaluit or Inuvik). The same year.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 275 (1) the national radio network. at will. five or six hours a week of Inuktitut programming are broadcast over the northern television network.and more controversial . locally-produced materials with outside programming transmitted by satellite: The CBC Northern Radio Network may be a model for a satellite system that avoids the trap of centralization while at the same time using existing production facilities as the building blocks of the network. Most of it is in Inuktitut. the totality of Arctic Quebec settlements-opted not to receive the television signal. Inuktitut programming consists of news broadcasts.phenomenon: In 1967. p. For up to five hours a day. These include regional news and reporting . To add local information and increase the relevance of the content. 1983. They did not change their minds until 1983-4. 138). radio bingos. almost ten years later (in 1983). northern services offered very little Inuktitut programming. as is the major part of the material produced by the Iqaluit production centre.

1980). the TV set is the perfect teaching machine for pre-adapting infants to the use of English and for reinforcing the English that the children all learn in school.1970 and 1985). and banding them about as well as any teenager in Peoria.1968. 13) suggests that such a situation (the overwhelming presence of English on television) may. 1891).276 Louis-Jacques Dorais on various Arctic events. 1876. nine out of ten Inuit households in the Keewatin region of the Northwest Territories owned a television set and watched an average of 3.whether Alaskan Inupiaq. If local radio clearly contributes. Thibert (1954). Dorais. The work of most missionaries was. with its familiar media phrases and accents. with none of the hesitancy of accent of those who have learned it in school or later (Graburn. valuable. and references such as Peck (1925). and Peacock (n. apart from a few early word-lists (cf. Flint (1954). The only remedy for this situation would be to produce enough interesting Inuktitut materials. Contemporary Studies of Inuktitut The language of the Inuit . In Canada. 123) quotes a CBC survey which shows that. Schneider (1967..at least that including the adults . a mixed blessing. there were no first major dictionaries and grammars until after 1860 (Erdmann. the first descriptions date back to the first half of the eighteenth century. 1982. so that they could really compete with American or southern Canadian television serials and exhibitions of violence. in 1979. this is not really very much.5 hours of television per day. Canadian Inuktitut or Greenlandic Kalaallisut -is amongst the first non-Indo-European and non-Semitic speech forms to have been described by scholars. But in view of the tremendous influence of television. p. 1864.. p. Bourquin. Graburn (1982. Electronic media are. by its language and contents. These studies were undertaken by missionaries. In Greenland. Metayer (1953). indeed. to fostering native identity.is still carried on in Inuktitut. be detrimental to Inuktitut: Even in the typical Inuit household where family conversation . Turquetil(1928). on the contrary. it is not the case with television which. values and language. and 1974) are . It is remarkable to see infants and pre-schoolers who hardly speak Inuktitut yet or who are wholly addressed in Inuktitut by their parents. In fact until the early 1970s with a very few exceptions (such as G. then. Thus they are developing English-as-a-first-language.d. no professional linguist seemed interested in analysing Inuktitut. pp. Gagné. none the less. Fafard (1953). picking up English. interviews and cultural programmes (Debbie Brisebois. constitutes the most perfect instrument for destroying Inuit culture. Lefebvre and R. Valaskakis (1983. 1983). Petitot. 13-14).

1977). mention should be made of Creider (1981). Gilles Lefebvre was working on the standardization of Inuktitut orthography (Lefebvre. 1976). Dugas (1980) and Dorais (ed. sociolinguistics and teaching methods. Arctic Quebec (Schneider. In Canada. As concerns comparative studies.on the problem of intonation .D. North Baffin Iglulingmiut (Dorais. and Lefebvre would publish a comparative phonology of the eastern Arctic. Additional details may be found in Paillet (1979). 1975 and1977). phonology was the first issue to be addressed by professional linguists. Nothing specific has been published on Western Inuktitun phonemes. .and Dorais (1986). Raymond Gagné. and three Western Inuktitun speech forms: Kangiryuarmiut Inuinnaqtun. Johnson (1981) has done research on the phonology of localizers in the Rankin Inlet Aivilik dialect. was busy writing an M. Etudes Inuit /Studies and the International Journal of American Linguistics (IJAL) regularly publish on Canadian Inuktitut. in Collis (1970). Reliable published data are still lacking for two dialects only . semantics. 1978). We have seen above that as early as 1957. Lawrence Smith has published on the phonologyand morphophonemics of Labrador Inuttut (Smith. But the most important phonological analysis of Canadian Inuktitut is that of Massenet (1986). 1983-5). Dorais (1982) and Woodbury (1984). More or less exhaustive lists of inflectional paradigms are now available for a majority of dialects: Labrador (Smith. 1974). Useful also were the comparative lexicons of the anthropologists Jenness (1928) and Birket-Smith (1928) as well as the grammar published by the trader Alex Spalding (1969). First presented as a Ph.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 277 still very useful to students of Inuktitut. thesis in 1978.Natsilik and Kivallirmiutun. Important collections oflinguistic essays on various topics are found in Hamp (1976).up to the 1970s appear in Krauss (1972) and. 1958). to a lesser degree. We shall focus here on more recent research in the fields of phonology. but Lowe’s descriptions of the Inuvialuit dialects (Lowe. Aivilik (Dorais. 1983-5) contain short phonological sketches. while another linguist. grammar. Two specialized joumals. however. Exhaustive lists of studies on all Eskimo-Aleut languages -including Canadian Inuktitut . 1957). It is the only Canadian text which may compare with Alaskan and Greenlandic phonological studies. lexicology. Since then.A. 1981). Gagné would later be involved in orthographic research (Gagné 1965). while Willis (1971) and Bisson (1983) have written theses on Arctic Quebec Inuktitut. Siglitun and Uummarmiutun (Lowe. It was not until the 197Os. 1967). it covers almost all aspects of vowel and consonant generation in Arctic Quebec Itivimiut. Fortescue (1983) . Baffin dialects (Harper. that phonological research became more systematic. Research on Inuit grammar includes both descriptions ofmorphological paradigms and analyses of syntactical processes. thesis on the basic phonemes of Arctic Quebec Itivimiut (Gagné.

but nothing concrete has yet been done. . a mini-polemic erupted in the pages of Etudes/ Inuit /Studies about the usefulness of such concepts (cf. the totality of existing lexicological data. All in all.. i. Lexicology is a field where the impact of Inuit researchers is increasingly felt. Other titles concern various semantic domains: numeration (Baillargeon et al. Other analyses include Clase’s thesis (Clase. some lexical material is available for all Canadian dialects except Natsilik. 1977). the most important reference is Schneider’s Inuktitut-English dictionary (Schneider. 1977). 1965.278 Louis-Jacques Dorais Formal linguistic analyses of Inuktitut grammar have principally centred on the question of ‘ergative’ (double person markers) and ‘antipassive’ (single person markers) forms. Jeddore. Lowe (1980) and Denny (1981). 1983 and 1985). time (Lowe. In addition to a book on the same subject by Kalmar (1979). 1981 and 1986). Balt. and 1974). quite a few references deal with localizers. 1976) and mathematical concepts (Denny. once again. Vézinet (1975). There also exist shorter glossaries and lists of postbases. 1975. Vakhtin. it also includes data from Labrador and Keewatin. 1978. Dorais. they use relational grammar as a theoretical framework. Schneider (1968).d. With regard to semantic studies. 1983) and the comparative description of postbases (Fortescue. and two elders. 1983). Paillet (1971). Harper (1979). 1983). Dorais (1971). 1980. Mainly dealing with the Arctic Quebec dialect. This is probably due to the fact that when support for this theory was at its apogee in the late 1960s Canadianlinguists were only beginning to become involved in Inuit studies. have already appeared (Smith and Metcalfe. 1985). 1973. Saint-Aubin. Massenet (1972) and Hofmann (1978). Osgood. Home. have undertaken the task. words denoting the position of an object in space. Lowe. There has been talk about the possibility of stocking. 1974) and Lowe’s studies of the Inuit word. 1976. Dorais (1978) and. Taamusi Qumaq from Povungnituk (Arctic Quebec) and Emile Immaroitok from Igloolik. In the field of lexicology. 1979). according to the theory of French linguist Gustave Guillaume (Lowe. Inuit have also been involved in all steps of the Inuvialuit language project (cf. These include Gagné (1968). in order to work on a pan-Canadian dictionary of Inuktitut. such as Peacock (n. Following the publication of an article by Ivan Kalmar (Kalmar. Only four references can be quoted: Correll (1970). 1977. Lowe’s Inuvialuit dictionaries.e. using micro-computers. Smith (l978). One article by Creider (1978) and two by Smith (1979 and 1981) also deal with this question. Several bilingual dictionaries. Klokeid and Arima. 1977). in a central computer. of writing and editing dictionaries with Inuktitut word definitions in the syllabic script. Despite its popularity on the North American continent. transformational generative grammar has not been applied very widely to the study of Canadian Inuktitut. More specialized studies deal with the designation of foreign concepts (Graburn. totally or partly written by native speakers.

the influence of Christianity on linguistic and cultural change (Correll. ‘perhaps’. the most promising . amongst themselves. a language . that tremendous progress has been made. however. three rather limited projects dealt respectively with the transmission of linguistic variation (Paillet). a few methods for teaching Inuktitut to non-speakers have been developed. Inuktitut is now taught in a majority of Arctic schools. which is reflected -through diglossia . Spalding. Dorais (1975) and Hamum et al. Sociolinguistics constitute the least developed -but. Bilingualism -which. such as Paillet (1973) and Dritsas (1986). since the start of the 197Os. General theoretical principles for semantic analysis may be found in Collis (1969) and Dorais (1973). anatomical terminology (Therrien. The author’s answer to the initial question cannot. and most native associations and leaders regard it as a major factor of cultural identity. the relative number of speakers is diminishing steadily. Certainly. But in the more distant future. if nothing is done right now. The language has gained some official recognition. Together with morpho-semantic analysis (i. perhaps. 1983). and a few dialects have been almost completely wiped out. 1970. In the mid-1970s. The Inuit live in a situation of economic.in the linguistic field. is a positive and necessary phenomenon seems to be detrimental to knowledge of Inuktitut. the elicitation and comparison of the basic meanings of morphologically composite words). Collis and Dorais.e. 1982) and customary law concepts (Collis and Dorais. (1982) -and two consist of selfteaching guides (Trinel. Inuktitut will survive another generation. one can only say immaqa. Conclusion Following this survey of the linguistic and social conditions of existence of the language of the Canadian Inuit. in itself. 1979). 1984. political. a few heritage-conscious Inuit intellectuals will gather regularly to speak. 1972 and 1984). 1974). There exists a nascent written language. More recent research concerns problems of bilingualism and diglossia (Prattis and Chartrand. be anythingbut cautious. Maybe fifty years from now. on the one hand. 1984. Pedagogical materials for native speakers have already been described. social and cultural dependency. Finally. Four of them are audio-visual -those of Gagné (1966). then. On the other hand.The Canadian Inuit and their Language 279 Cognitive anthropology has inspired a very few taxonomical analyses. as well as Inuit written and electronic media. and language contacts in the High Arctic (Dorais). Mallon (1974-6). one question remains to be answered: Does Inuktitut have any chance of survival into the twenty-first century? We saw. it has permitted a more thorough understanding of various corpuses: the lexicon of acculturation (Dorais.area of research. in linguistic and cultural revitalization. Collis 1985).

A. D. Bureau of Ethnology. BIRKET-SMITH. Washington. (ed. Povungnituk. (Reprinted by University of Nebraska Press. PERRETT. T. 1929. In: Damas. 166 p.280 Louis-Jacques Dorais that nobody else can understand. 1983. Inuit Language Commission. Coastal Northern Labrador after 1950. These de maitrise. ALASUAQ. 1971..C. 1977. P. ALASUAQ. Service Book of the Western Eskimos. Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition V. Summer. Jaani Ajaruap inuusinga (Jaanni Ajaruaq’s Life). Lincoln). Aglait Ilisimatiksat Inungnut ilingnajut . 1935. ANONYMOUS. 60 p. Noelting. 1984. the Canadian Arctic natives are in danger of losing. 829 p. BALT. its History. Dictionary by Themes Inuktitut Qablunaatitut. Dorais. Copenhagen. The Caribou Eskimo. Quebec. strong measures must be taken to increase the overall economic. in the long run. 1949. 261 p.. Ottawa. Université Laval. 68999.. 9-110. Bibliography AJARUAQ. London. Smithsonian Institution. BRANTENBERG.. 40 p. Ottawa.Unikkaatuat Ujaranngutitait (Legends Turned to Stone: the Life and Work of an Inuit Artist). ANONYMOUS. Quebec. A. 1888.Grammmatik der Eskimo Sprache an der labrador-Kuste (Grammar of the Eskimo Language on the Labrador Coast). G. 215 p. Five Hundred Eskimo Words. Hudson Bay Company. BINNEY. T. 3). London. . W. Toronto. BAILLARGEON. 1931. 133 p. . 6th Annual Report. political and cultural autonomy of the Inuit people. L. M. Commission scolaire du Nouveau-Quebec. BETHUNE. Vol. W. Washington. Boas. pp. AJURNARMAT. The Central Eskimo. Arctic. 1. not only their language. What has been done up to the present time is not sufficient. Handbook of North American Indians. Brantenberg. 1. Etude du consonantisme et du vocalisme de l’inuktitut parlé à Inukjuak et Poste-de-la-Baleine. (Inuktitut. Aspects sémantiques et structuraux de la numeration chez les Inuit. Vol. Rankin Inlet. Population and Administration.Guide de la couturier-e. pp. R. 1977.J. French and English texts). If they do not gain any real measure of social independence. K. 1978. Report of the Fifth Thule Expedition V. Moravian Mission Agency. The Moravian Mission in LabradorlMoraviamiut Missioningat Labradoremiut Akkorngane. 5. Canada’s Eastern Arctic.). Happy Valley. Association Inuksiutiit katimajiit. Missionary Society of the Church of England in Canada. BISSON. but will it be possible then to consider it as a living speech form? If such a situation is to be avoided. G. BOURQUIN. Ajurnarmat (Arviat). 1929. Saladin d’Anglure. Resources. D. Moravian Mission. (Inuksiutiit allaniagait. 1964. pp. F. Copenhagen. Department of Northern Affairs. 1981. B. 1973. 1970.W. but also their identity and very soul. No. Department of the Interior. 93-128.The Eskimo Book of Knowledge. J. Etudes / Inuit/ Studies (Quebec). 1891.

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