magazine

Inuktitut magazine has been published since1959 and it has acted as an important mechanism for promoting and preserving Inuit culture and language.

Courtesy of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.

© Indian and Northern Affairs Canada


"There are only very few Inuit, but millions of qallunaaq (white people) just like mosquitoes. It is something very special and wonderful to be an Inuk- we are like the snow geese. If we abandon our Inuit ways, or no longer find it important to use our language, we will be nothing but just another mosquito."

(Abraham Okpik, 1979)
"There are only very few Inuit, but millions of qallunaaq (white people) just like mosquitoes. It is something very special and wonderful to be an Inuk- we are like the snow geese. If we abandon our Inuit ways, or no longer find it important to use our language, we will be nothing but just another mosquito."

(Abraham Okpik, 1979)

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

We speak a language that is unique to our culture and although there are some differences in the way it is spoken from one region to the next, it is possible for individuals to understand each other from the coast of Russia to Greenland. This fact now provides a strong binding force that we as Canadian Inuit are using to develop a multinational and circumpolar Inuit voice.

We are very concerned with the need to maintain our language, and not just as an expression of our cultural heritage. Our language can also be adapted to the work place and used as a powerful tool for helping to build our new political, economic and social systems through self-government. It has been said that our language is powerful and it must be used to give many great thoughts to the world. Our language must also be protected and provided with an opportunity to grow.
We speak a language that is unique to our culture and although there are some differences in the way it is spoken from one region to the next, it is possible for individuals to understand each other from the coast of Russia to Greenland. This fact now provides a strong binding force that we as Canadian Inuit are using to develop a multinational and circumpolar Inuit voice.

We are very concerned with the need to maintain our language, and not just as an expression of our cultural heritage. Our language can also be adapted to the work place and used as a powerful tool for helping to build our new political, economic and social systems through self-government. It has been said that our language is powerful and it must be used to give many great thoughts to the world. Our language must also be protected and provided with an opportunity to grow.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

We first began to read and write our language about a hundred years ago when missionaries introduced a system of writing that we call "Syllabics." There are 32 different syllabic characters in the syllabic writing system.

At first missionaries used it as a means of teaching about the bible, but we quickly started to use syllabics for many other purposes.

Not all of the Canadian Inuit use syllabic writing. In fact, Moravian missionaries who came to Labrador from Germany in 1770 introduced the first writing and reading system. This system uses the Roman alphabet for writing our language; a system still used today in Labrador. In the western Arctic the Inuvialuit also use a Roman script for writing.
We first began to read and write our language about a hundred years ago when missionaries introduced a system of writing that we call "Syllabics." There are 32 different syllabic characters in the syllabic writing system.

At first missionaries used it as a means of teaching about the bible, but we quickly started to use syllabics for many other purposes.

Not all of the Canadian Inuit use syllabic writing. In fact, Moravian missionaries who came to Labrador from Germany in 1770 introduced the first writing and reading system. This system uses the Roman alphabet for writing our language; a system still used today in Labrador. In the western Arctic the Inuvialuit also use a Roman script for writing.

© 2000, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Table

Syllabics Chart

Inuit Tapirisat of Canada

© Inuit Tapirisat of Canada


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Express an opinion about the importance of preserving Inuit language
  • Describe Inuit syllabic writing, and its history
  • Compare Inuit syllabic writing to their own language

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