Today’s word appears in an article on CBC Canada News which discusses a new policy that will require all senior government officials in Nunavut to speak Inuktitut by 2008. The language requirement will eventually be extended to other staff as well. The word iqqanaijaaqajjaagunniiqtutit roughly translates as ‘you won’t have any work anymore’ – the fate that apparently awaits those who fail to learn the language.
Nunavut is a huge, sparsely populated territory in the far north of Canada where the majority of the inhabitants are Inuit. The majority of the population – some 85% – speak Inuktitut as their first language and some speak no other language. In this light, the policy makes a lot of sense. In Spoken Here: Travels Among Threatened Languages, Mark Abley mentions that many of the officials in Nunavut spoke only English when he visited the territory, and that much of the administration of the region was undertaking in English. This new policy should help to raise the status of Inuktitut.