Inuktitut is an Eskimo-Aleut language spoken in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia by about 65,000 people. There is in fact a dialect continumum of Inuktitut dialects across the Arctic with varying degress of mutually intelligibility between them.
The language is used in schools and local government to some extent. It is also used on the radio and TV. In 2007 a new policy was introduced that will require senior government officials to speak Inuktitut by 2008. This requirement will eventually be extended of other officials.
The Inuktitut syllabary was adapted from the Cree syllabary in the late 19th century by John Horden and E. A. Watkins, missionaries from England. Edmund Peck promoted the use of the syllabary across the Canadian Arctic, and also translated the bible into Inuktitut, and wrote an Eskimo Grammar and an Eskimo-English Dictionary.
In 1976 the Language Commission of the Inuit Cultural Institute approved two standardized writing systems for Inuktitut in Canada: one using the syllabary and the other using the Latin alphabet.
Today the Inuktitut syllabary, which is known as titirausiq nutaaq (ᑎᑎᕋᐅᓯᖅ ᓄᑕᐊᖅ) or qaniujaaqpait (ᖃᓂᐅᔮᖅᐸᐃᑦ), is used mainly in Canada, especially in the territory of Nunavut (ᓄᓇᕗᑦ), the population of which is 85% Inuit, and in Nunavik (ᓄᓇᕕᒃ), Quebec. The Latin alphabet, known as qaliujaaqpait is used in other parts of Canada, Alaska and Greenland, while in Siberia the Cyrillic alphabet is used.
Inuluktaat inuulisaannguqput nangminiirungnasimaqaqɬutik ajjigiingmiglu
ilitarijaujjutsiaqaqɬutiglu pijungnautitauqaqɬutik. Isumaksaqsiurungnatsiarnirmik
inuutsiarutigijarlu piliqtungauttut, asianngurnullu iliurnirviqatigiittaruksariaqaraluaqput
(Titiqqaqsimajuq 1 Kitutuinnat pijungnautit silarjuarmiuqatigiinnut nalunaiqsiutit)
Inuujulimaat aniqtirijulimaat inuulaurmata isumarsurlatik ammalu
ajjiuqatimiiklutik nirsuangunikkut ammalu pijunnaititigut.
Isuqaqtuqartitauvalirput pijjutiqarnikkuut qatangmutimiittiariqaqnikullu.
(Ilanga 1 Silarjuarmiut nalunaiqsiutingit kinakkutuinnait pijunnautingit)
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another
in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
Information about the Inuktitut Syllabary
Inuktitut – Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics transliteration system
Inuktitut Project - includes information about the syllabary and language
Inuktitut Tusaalanga - online Inuktitut lessons
Inuktitut online radio
Nunatsiaq news (in English)
Nunavut Arctic College (in Inuktitut & English)
Government of Nunavut (in Inuktitut, French & English)
Nunasoft - Inuktitut software and other resources