In Nunavik, the main language is Inuktitut. It is the mother tongue of the Inuit people who make up most of the population. This language is one of the 20 dialects that make up the Aleut/Inuit language family. Inuktitut is used daily in Nunavik, and children are taught this language starting in first grade. The second language of a substantial part of the population is English; however, more and more young people are interested in French.

At first, the Inuit didn’t have a written language. Their traditions, their history, their hunting and fishing techniques and their instructions for making objects were passed orally from generation to generation.

At the beginning of the 20th century, missionaries developed a form of writing that the Inuit still use today. It is a type of syllabic writing, where words are formed by combining symbols that represent different syllables. Small signs are placed like exponents to represent additional sounds.

Eskimos or Inuit?
In the past, the Inuit were called “Eskimos”, an Algonquian word that means “eaters of raw meat”. The Inuit never use this term, preferring to be called “Inuit”, which means, simply, “people”.

Author: Based on texts from the Récit de l’univers social.  Adapted with additions by LEARN.

 

To learn words in Inuktitut, visit the Inuktitut Glossary at https://nunavik-ice.com/en/glossary/