Nunavut: Inuit need national language centre

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Oct 5 14:03:22 UTC 2007


October 5, 2007
Inuit need national language centre: Simon "You need to preserve the old
language and come up with new terminology to keep up."

JANE GEORGE <janeg at nunatsiaq.com>

Inuit need a nation-wide language and culture resource centre to preserve
and promote Inuktitut throughout Canada, says Mary Simon, the president of
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. "It would be important for us as Inuit to have this
kind of centre where you can work on the language, as in the Faroes," Simon
said, following a meeting of the National Inuit Language Committtee in
Ottawa. In the Faroe Islands, the Faroese Language Committee is an advisory
institute, founded in 1985.


 The National Inuit Language Committee, with members from Nunatsiavut,
Nunavik, Nunavut and the Inuvialuit region, met in Ottawa to discuss how to
strengthen Inuktitut.
(PHOTO COURTESY OF ITK)
------------------------------

Its mandate is to preserve, promote and develop the Faroese language. It
provides individuals, businesses and government institutions with advice and
information about the Faroese language, and helps come up with new words and
expressions. It also answers questions about personal names, place names and
other names. Simon suggested a similar Canadian Inuktitut centre might be
able to develop a unified written language, without changing the various
regional dialects. This, she said, could open the door for the regions to
share more educational material.

Inuktitut, along with Cree and Ojibway, is one of three aboriginal languages
in Canada that experts say has a chance of surviving, but Simon said it
needs more resources to continue developing. "You need to preserve the old
language and come up with new terminology to keep up with what's happening
in the Inuit world," she said. With the support of ITK, the National Inuit
Language Committee, with members from Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, Nunavut and the
Inuvialuit region, met last week in Ottawa to discuss what Inuktitut needs -
more language teachers, more language learning materials, more books and
more collaboration between the regions.

Simon admits it will be challenging to help urban Inuit or Inuit in
Nunatsiavut and the Inuvialuit region learn or retain Inuktitut. But Simon
suggested a language and culture centre could support these efforts over the
long term, providing the school system with common Inuktitut learning
materials. "It's not an easy thing to do, but a lot of things happen that
aren't easy to do. If the will is there, you can make it happen," she said.
Simon plans to promote the idea of the Inuktitut language and culture
resource centre during her cross-Canada speaking tour, which starts later
this month.

http://www.nunatsiaq.com/news/nunavut/71005_575.html
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