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Kavamat Elihaktoliginikot Havakviat
Education Nunavut
Ministere de l’Education

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History of Inuktitut Writing System

There was no Inuktitut writing system in existence until 1877 when the first one was introduced to Inuit people. The original invention of a Syllabic writing system was used among the Cree Indians and later adapted for use in the Inuktitut language. Edmund Peck, a missionary from England, was one of many instigators and promoters in the use of Syllabics. Because of his fluency in Inuktitut he became known as “Uqammaq” one who speaks well.

The Syllabic characters were written on the back of prayer books and Inuit picked it up quickly, even though some disregarded using “small characters” called finals. Because writing pads were not available on the land, packaging paper was used to write on and sent along with a piece of caribou sinew tied around a folded letter.

With the abandonment of inland life the writing system followed right along in the late 50’s and early 1960 when Inuit stopped going on the land for the winter with the arrival of Government services where use of Syllabics was dramatically increased.

In 1960, a new standard writing system known as Roman Orthography was developed for Canadian Inuit but was not embraced as much as people refused to give up their existing writing system.

In 1974, when Inuit Taparisat of Canada conducted a study through Inuit Language Commission it was discovered that Inuit who used both writing systems wanted to keep them. When the work on the technicalities of the two writing systems were completed, a Dual Orthography, Qaliujaaqpait and Qaniujaaqpait writing system for Canadian Inuit was ratified in 1976.

Mark Kalluak Culture & Heritage Advisor

 

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Tittakuluit Tukingit Symbols and Their Meanings

 

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The dot indicates

a double vowel.

 

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The agma indicates

a glottal stop.

 

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Atuqtauvalirmijut Titiqqat Recently Added Characters

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Kavamat Elihaktoliginikot Havakviat

Department of Education

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Box 390 Arviat, NU

Box 390 Arviat, NU

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(867) 857-3050

Okaotaa: (867) 857-3050

Ph: (867) 857-3050

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(867) 857-3090

Kayumiktukut: (867) 857-3090

Fax: (867) 857-3090

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Okoa hivayaklogit: Mark Kalluak

Contact: Mark Kalluak