What writing system(s) does this language use?
Inuktitut (Inuktitut syllabics: ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ (fonts required) is usually represented by a 60 letter alphabet of Inuktitut syllabics which are based on the Cree alphabet. A dot over a syllabic indicates a long vowel. In some dialects and in Inuinnaqtun, another language that many consider to be Inuktitut, the Roman Orthography system (Latin alphabet) is used.
How many people speak this language?
Around 30,000 people speak Inuktitut as their first language. They are nearly entirely located in Northern Canada, with only around 220 speakers living outside of traditional Inuit lands. Around 3,500 individual speakers are monolingual, while the rest have typically some degree of skill in English or French. The successful preservation of this language (in contrast with others in the Eskimo-Aleut language family) is generally credited to the general isolation and remoteness of the Inuit people until the late 20th century. Although a significant number of Caucasian people live in the territories where Inuktitut is spoken, nearly all native speakers are Inuit. It should be noted that in Nunavut, a territory of Canada, all top government officials are expected to be able to speak the language fluently.
Where is this language spoken?
What is the history of this language?
The Inuktitut language (literally meaning "the Inuit way") has been spoken by the Inuit for the past 2000 years that they have lived in North America. However it was not until the 19th century that it became a written language. Moravian missionaries are generally credited as the first people to transcribe the language from oral to written by copying its phonetics in the Latin alphabet. It was not until the late 19th century that the Inuktitut writing system was invented by linguist and missionary James Evans. It is generally lacking some of the syllabics in the Cree language but still contains the majority of them. The language's vocabulary has expanded in recent years to accommodate technological words from snowmobile to television. It is recognized in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Alaska as an official language, and is the language from which the territory Nunavut's (ᓄᓇᕗᑦ literally meaning "our land") name is derived. Before the creation of Nunavut in 1999 the language had been a minority in other recognized territories (one of many found in the Northwest Territories, for example), but it has been taught increasingly in recent years within the new region.
- "Inuktitut" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Jan 2007, 00:08 UTC. 5 Jan 2007, 19:08. w:Inuktitut.
- "Inuktitut Syllabics" Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. 5 Jan 2007, 00:13 UTC. 5 Jan 2007, 19:13. w:Inuktitut syllabics.
- "Living Dictionary". LivingDictionary.com.
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