Expressing IdentityInuttut Kautamât uKauset (Inuttut Phrasebook)


Alana Johns
Rita Andersen

This project is developing an Inuttut phrasebook suited for the day-to-day life of Labrador Inuit. The goal is to create a guide of handy words and phrases for Inuit (and others) working to improve their language skills. The phrasebook, like phrasebooks used by travelers who visit other countries, is aimed at providing quick access to sentences frequently used in Nunatsiavut.

The first phase of the project is an app with audio for tablets and smartphones. Following this, an expanded version will be produced as a book, including a brief introduction to the grammar of the language to aid learners further. The book is being developed by Rita Andersen, former interpreter-translator for Nunatsiavut Government, and Alana Johns, Professor Emeritus in Linguistics at the University of Toronto and it will try to represent speech from all communities in Nunatsiavut.

Examples of the types of items within the phrasebook (spoken by Alana Johns here, but the app examples will be spoken by Nunatsiavummiut).

‘Can you count?’ – kititsisonguven

‘I made a mistake.’ – tammavunga

‘Don’t drop it!’ – kataniannagu!

‘I’m hungry!’ – kâppâ!

‘Who is your mother?’ – kina anânait

So far we have over 1000 items and we would like to include words or sentences when the Inuttut dialects differ. For example ‘can’ in the Nain dialect is KokKuk but in the Hebron dialect is Kummujuk. These differences are interesting and important. If you have examples where you think your dialect differs or you know any other words or phrases that you think should be included, please email Alana at ajohns@chass.utoronto.ca and let us know!