Mi'kmaq is an Algonquian language spoken in Canada and the USA, mainly in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and also in Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Maine. In 2016 there were 7,345 native speakers of Mi'kmaq, which is also known as Micmac, Mi'gmaq, Miigmao or Restigouche. The Mi'kmaq called themselves L'nu'k (the people) and their language L'nui'sin. The word Mi'kmaq comes from their word nikmaq, meaning "my kin-friends."
Mi'kmaq was originally written with a 'hieroglyphic' system. In 1691 a French missionary named Fater La Clerq noticed Mi'kmaq children using the system as a memory aid and adapted it to write scriptures. In 1894 a method of writing Mi'kmaq with Latin alphabet was devised by Silas T. Rand, who used it to translate religious works, a number of other material and a grammar. A new spelling system, the Francis-Smith orthography, was devised in 1974 by Bernie Francis and Doug Smith. It became the official orthography of the Míkmaq Nation in 1980, and is used in Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.
Msit mimajulnu'k weskwijinu'ltijik alsumsultijik aqq newte' tett wkpimte'tmut
aqq koqwajo'taqnn wejkul'aqmititl.
(Article 1, Wtui'katikn wjit Koqwajo'taqann Mimajuinu'k Wejkuaqmi'tij)
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)
Examples of the various written forms of Mi'kmaq
Mi'kmaq Pronunciation and Spelling Guide
Mi'kmaq Resource Centre
Page last modified: 09.06.21
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