Inuktitut: Still Spoken & Written

Sanikiluaq might be a small place, but it still has its own way of speaking and writing. 6.1 billion people exist in this world. The population of Nunavut is 29,000, 85% of which can speak Inuktitut. We call ourselves as Inuit, and the singular of Inuit is Inuk.

In 1741 Inuktitut syllabics were created by Hans Egede. He was a missionary from Greenland. Roman orthography was used to translate the Holy Bible by Otto Frabricius in 1794. As a result of this history, there are two ways of writing Inuktitut: Roman orthography and syllabics. Although the Inuit of Sanikiluaq prefer to write in syllabics, it is still easier to read Roman orthography. Just a reminder, there are slight differences in dialect for each community. Knowing a couple of words can make a difference when visitors come to town.


Click pictures to view


Click here to view the beginning of Inuktitut syllabic, the syllabics are clickable.

To view the standardized i,u,a click here, the alphabets are also clickable.

The following are the guides that a person could say to an Inuk person.

Most used words: Pronunciation

English Meaning:
aa aa Yes
auka aw-ka No
qanuitpii? (k)a-no-ee-ppiit? How are you?
qanuitjangillanga (k)a-no-ee-(t)ya-ngi-l-la-nga I am fine
kinauviit? ke-na-o-veet What's your name?
luisauvunga lo-ee-sa-oo-vo-(k)a My name is Louisa
nakurmik na-ku-r-mic Thank you
ilaali e-laa-le You're welcome
tukisivunga to-ke-si-voo-(k)a I understand

Pronunciation on a table:

  labial alveolar palatal velar uvular glottal

voiceless stop

voiceless continuant fricative  

Table in Inuktitut similar to the above table

Click the titles in the following chart to hear Inuktitut being spoken.

-_ basic(zero ending)
-up relative
-mik secondary
-mi locative in
-mit ablative from
-mut allative“to/with”
-kkut transitive“through/by”
-tut simulative “like”

-ji “agent”
-suuq “one who habitually does”
-qati “partner”
-(v)vik “place”
-(r)uti “instrument”
-niq “idea”
-juq “the one that x’s

-siuq- “search for”
-juq- “eat, drink, use”
-liuq- “construct”
-liaq- “motion with”
-lirit- “work with”
-taaq- “newly acquired”
-nnguq- “became”
-qaq- “have”
-gi- “have”
-(ng)u- “is”
-si- “discover, come across

-(r)juaq “large, big”
-(ra)aluk “largeness, impressiveness”
-llarik “genuineness, certainty, really”
-ksaq “material;something which will become or be made into something else”
-tuqaq “old”
-kuluk “endearment, smallness:
-(ra)apik “small, sweet, nice”
-nnguaq “resemblance, pretension”
-viniq “denotes a former state”
-lik “possession

-liq “present progressive”
-rattaq- “immediate past”
-qqau- “recent past”
-lauq- “general past”
-niaq- “near future”
-laaq- “far future”
-jumaaq- “distant future”
-qattaq- “habitual action”
-sima- “state of being”

-tsiaq- “fine, good”
-luaq- “excessively, too much”
-nngit- “negative”
-kasak- “almost, incomplete”
-(ra)arjuk- “smallness”
-jjaa- “future negative”
-si- “to begin to”

-guma- “want to”
-gunnaq- “be able to/can”
-riaqaq- “necessity to perform action/much”
-gasua- “try to”
-gasuagi- “think that”
-niraq- “say that”
-qu(ji) “tell to”
-tit(si) “cause to”
-galuaq- “actually” (although)
-jau- “passive”

-nguarua(-) “fake”
-llarik(-) “real”
-tsiaq(-) “fine, good”
-tuinnaq(-) “just”
-(ng)innaq(-) “always”

Let’s use the word “ilisarviliaqatiqaqtuq.” ilisaq/vi/liq/qati/qaq/tuq spread them out this this. Each little word has a meaning. The first word is the root “ilisaq,” which means to learn. It’s basically going to grow in sentences. “ilisarvik” means the learning institution, which can also mean school. As you can see in the columns “liaq” is a motion towards, “qati” as in partners, “qaq” is have, “tuq” is a verb ending. So, this whole word means he/she is going to the school with someone. Notice that the (r) is changed to (q). It’s because (q) became voiced. (k) is also deleted because there can’t be two consonants. Another example, (r) and (q) are released in the throat, not from the mouth or lips.

Listen to example for using noun endings.

Examples for writing noun endings:
Marks the subject of an intransitive
(non-specific verb)
Ungannaq + _ tikiliqtuq
Ungannaq is arriving

Marks the object of an intransitive
(non-specific verb)
Ungannarmik takujunga
I see Ungannaq

Marks possession
Ungannaup nasanga
Ungannaq’s hat

Short Story In Inuktitut: syllabic

mcw5t4 x7ml Nk6
s8knst9lA m3]D4 mcw†4 WhMs6g kN4f5. b5ym5 yK9o+X4 mcw5t4 xtz ||xtb6 sc6S4, "WsQqbC bm8N kN4, ryxi m3Dhk wMQ4v8k x7ml WctQ5yxhk hNj xiZsMqgA.
scEgxCul Nk6 NwDoMs6S6.
|b8N yK9o+X4 mcw5t4 |xtb wEx8M4S, whmqyx3li wMi s/Cs czk5 eµK6. b8Nl g[ox mcwt xms/6 gklis Whgw8NS6, cspmo6Sl x8NwMCu Nk3u5. cspmoCu N9MS kNj5 sxq5yxli xi6nq5yxlil. scst/sMs6ymZu Nkw5 x4g6yMq7mb gdzJ iei5.
Nk6 s3iyo6S6 sms/3u5 Nwm3cMslis4, ixdxi4 cspn3li, Nwm3clil ezzi5, cizil x7ml ystzi4. Nwm3cgxCu xms/6 sxM5/obw8N6S xi6nobw8N3lil. xfi4viso3m Nk6 cizi Nwm3cMs6hi WhQxyK xms/6 gdzhQZus4.
Nk6 bmiD8Nwm xtb6 vbo6S x/C3u5.
“wm wMl8il xc6S6, cspMs6Sz Nk ciz cigyxMs3m5 yst1k5. ck xcstMs6XQV
xms/6 xc6S6, hoJu scstMsXm. Nk s4WE5bdqliz rNu5 scst/sZlxDm WctQ8N3ixC3lz ryxi x6XQxX v2WxN6g n3eM3m5.

Short Story In Inuktitut in Roman Orthography. Short Story In English.


Click pictures to view.

Inuktitut Numbers



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