Chapter 3. Polar Eskimo as a Written Language
Chapter 3 Polar Eskimo as a Written Language There is no really established written tradition for Inuktun or Polar Eskimo, but that is not to say that there have not been attempts at writing the language down. It is not a standardised language, and thus there is wide disagreement on spelling. A word such as hior’ddo, for example, may for instance be spelt hior’ddu, hiorllo or hiordu or several other ways. As we have seen, the North Baffin Island dialect was written down using a syllabary, but this was established shortly after the last migration to north-west Greenland, and thus the syllabary was not taken with them. Some of the Inugguit who have Canadian ancestry are able to read the syl- labary, but there does not appear to have been any attempt to ever write Polar Eskimo using this script (as far as I am aware). There have of course been numerous attempts to write the language down using the Latin script, but it has been difficult to gain consensus on how to write a small number of the more problematic sounds. Some will try to write their language as an accurate representation of its spoken form. Others might insist that ‘their’ language cannot be written down because they believe the sounds do not lend themselves to writing or because they believe their culture is an oral one and should remain so. For others, there is not always an immedi- ate awareness that their written language (West Greenlandic) does not...
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