Inuktitut Language

The goal of the Inuktitut Language Programme is to preserve and protect the language of the Inuit and promote its use within the territory of Nunavik.

In an autonomous government, an Inuktitut Language Commission would supervise the protection and development of Inuktitut. Language protection (language in the workplace and of signs) must be a priority of Nunavingmi Aquvvinga.

Avataq’s language programme develops terminology for contemporary domains such as legal, medical and communications terminology. The Institute also organizes workshops that seek to meet the needs of translators and interpreters and ensure the quality of translation services.

Avataq’s ongoing work includes the development of the following tools: a language dictionary, a recovery database (for words at risk of disappearing) a grammar, and materials for teaching Inuktitut as a second language. In addition, the programme includes the development of a reference library and the development of approaches for learning the language via concrete experience – observation and action, as it was learned traditionally.

At the local level, Avataq encourages language workshops and inter-generational interactions within all the 14 communities of Nunavik.


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Activities include the construction of qarmaqs (earthen huts), sealskin tents, traditional umiaqs (sealskin boats) and kayaks; language workshops; and making bannock, kamik, puurtaq and avataq.

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Place names

“Toponyms known and used by Inuit within living memory must be recognized by the government and used on official maps in order to reaffirm their permanent cultural value.” Resolution of the Inuit Elders Conference, 1983.

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