|Native to||United States, formerly Russia; Northwest Territories of Canada|
|Region||Alaska; formerly Big Diomede Island|
Latin (Iñupiaq alphabet)|
esi – North Alaskan Inupiatun
esk – Northwest Alaska Inupiatun
Inuit dialects. Inupiat dialects are orange (Northern Alaskan) and pink (Seward Peninsula).
Inupiat //, Inupiaq //, or Alaskan Inuit, is a group of dialects of the Inuit languages, spoken by the Inupiat people in northern and northwestern Alaska. The Inupiat language is a member of the Yupik-Inuit languages. There are roughly 2,000 speakers.
The Iñupiaq category of number distinguishes singular, plural, and dual. Iñupiaq does not have a category of gender and articles. An Iñupiaq word consists of a base or stem, which is followed by postbases, endings, and enclitics.
The Inupiaq language is an Inuit-Yupik-Unangan language, also known as Eskimo-Aleut, has been spoken in the Northern regions of Alaska for at many as 5,000 years. Between 1,000 and 800 years ago, Inuit peoples migrated east from Alaska to Canada and Greenland, eventually occupying the entire Arctic coast and much of the surrounding inland areas. The Inupiaq dialects are the most conservative forms of the Inuit language, with less linguistic change than the other Inuit languages.
In the mid to late 19th century, Russian, British, and American colonizers would make contact with Inupiat people. In 1885, the American territorial government appointed Rev. Sheldon Jackson as General Agent of Education. Under his administration, Inupiat people (and all Alaska Natives) were educated in English-only environments, forbidding the use of Inupiaq and other indigenous languages of Alaska. After decades of English-only education, with strict punishment if heard speaking Inupiaq, after the 1970's, most Inupiat did not pass the Inupiaq language onto their children, for fear of them being punished for speaking their language.
In 1972, the Alaska State Legislature passed legislation mandating that if “a [school is attended] by at least 15 pupils whose primary language is other than English, [then the school] shall have at least one teacher who is fluent in the native language”.
Today, the University of Alaska Fairbanks offers bachelor's degrees in Inupiaq language and culture, while a preschool/kindergarten-level Inupiaq immersion school named Nikaichuat Ilisaġviat is in existence in Kotzebue.
- Seward Peninsula Iñupiaq, consisting of:
- Bering Strait: spoken on King Island and the Diomede Islands and in the villages north of Nome, Alaska. It can be subdivided into:
- Qawiaraq: spoken in Teller, near the original village of Qawiaraq, and in the villages south of Nome as far as Unalakleet. It can be subdivided into:
- Northern Alaskan Iñupiaq: spoken in Northwest Arctic and North Slope regions, from Deering, Alaska to the Mackenzie Delta in the Northwest Territories, Canada:
- Malimiutun, which can be subdivided into:
- North Slope: spoken along the Arctic coast as far south as Kivalina. It can be subdivided into:
- Common North Slope (tribes: Utuqqaġmiut, Siḷaliñaġmiut [Kukparuŋmiut and Kuuŋmiut], Kakligmiut [Sitarumiut, Utqiaġvigmuit and Nuvugmiut], Kuulugruaġmiut, Ikpikpagmiut, Kuukpigmiut [Kañianermiut, Killinermiut and Kagmalirmiut])
- Point Hope (tribe: Tikiġaġmiut)
- Anaktuvuk Pass (tribe: Nunamiut)
- Uummarmiutun (tribe: Uummarmiut): spoken in the Mackenzie Delta (Aklavik and Inuvik) in the Northwest Territories, Canada
The Inupiaq dialects, like other Eskimo–Aleut languages, represent a particular type of agglutinative language called a polysynthetic language: it "synthesizes" a root and various grammatical affixes to create long words with sentence-like meanings.
Inupiaq has three basic vowels: a i u, phonemically /a i u/, phonetically [ɐ i u]. The vowels can also appear long: aa ii uu /aː iː uː/. When adjacent to the uvular consonants q ġ /q ʁ/, short vowels are lowered allophonically to [ɔ e o] respectively. Length is important in distinguishing meaning in Inupiaq. Short vowels may be joined to produce the diphthongs ai ia au iu ui.
The vowel i /i/ is derived historically from the merger of Proto-Inuit /i/ and /ǝ/; only the former causes palatalization of the following consonant. Only in pedagogical texts are the two kinds of i written differently.
Inupiaq has around 21 consonants. All stops are voiceless. The following consonants are found:
|Stops||/p/ ⟨p⟩||/t/ ⟨t⟩||/k/ ⟨k⟩||/q/ ⟨q⟩|
|Fricatives I||/v/ ⟨v⟩||/s/ ⟨s⟩||/ʂ/ ⟨sr⟩ ~ /ʐ/ ⟨r, zr⟩||/ɣ/ ⟨g⟩||/ʁ/ ⟨ġ⟩|
|Nasals||/m/ ⟨m⟩||/n/ ⟨n⟩||/ɲ/ ⟨ñ⟩||/ŋ/ ⟨ŋ⟩|
|Laterals||/l/ ⟨l⟩ ~ /l/ ⟨ł⟩||/ʎ/ ⟨ḷ⟩ ~ /ʎ̥/ ⟨ł̣⟩|
|Approximants||/ɻ/ ⟨r⟩||/j/ ⟨j⟩||/h/ ⟨h⟩|
The Iñupiaq letter ñ [ɲ] is pronounced close to English ny in "canyon".
Inupiaq was first written when explorers first arrived in Alaska and began recording words in the native languages. They wrote by adapting the letters of their own language to writing the sounds they were recording. Spelling was often inconsistent, since the writers invented it as they wrote. Unfamiliar sounds were often confused with other sounds, so that, for example, 'q' was often not distinguished from 'k' and long consonants or vowels were not distinguished from short ones.
Along with the Alaskan and Siberian Yupik, the Inupiat eventually adopted the Latin script (Qaliujaaqpait) that Moravian missionaries developed in Greenland and Labrador. Native Alaskans also developed a system of pictographs, which, however, died with its creators.
In 1946, Roy Ahmaogak, an Inupiaq Presbyterian minister from Barrow, worked with Eugene Nida, a member of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, to develop the current Iñupiaq alphabet based on the Latin script. Although some changes have been made since its origin—most notably the change from 'ḳ' to 'q'—the essential system was accurate and is still in use.
|A a||Ch ch||G g||Ġ ġ||H h||I i||K k||L l||Ḷ ḷ||Ł ł||Ł̣ ł̣||M m|
|N n||Ñ ñ||Ŋ ŋ||P p||Q q||R r||S s||Sr sr||T t||U u||V v||Y y|
Extra letter for Kobuk dialect: ’ /ʔ/
|A a||B b||G g||Ġ ġ||H h||I i||K k||L l||Ł ł||M m||N n||Ŋ ŋ||P p|
|Q q||R r||S s||Sr sr||T t||U u||V v||W w||Y y||Z z||Zr zr||'|
Extra letters for specific dialects:
|A a||Ch ch||F f||G g||H h||Dj dj||I i||K k||L l||Ł ł||M m|
|N n||Ñ ñ||Ng ng||P p||Q q||R r||Ȓ ȓ||T t||U u||V v||Y y|
This is a sample of the Inupiaq language of the Kivalina variety from Kivalina Reader, published in 1975.
Aaŋŋaayiña aniñiqsuq Qikiqtami. Aasii iñuguġuni. Tikiġaġmi Kivaliñiġmiḷu. Tuvaaqatiniguni Aivayuamik. Qulit atautchimik qitunġivḷutik. Itchaksrat iñuuvlutiŋ. Iḷaŋat Qitunġaisa taamna Qiñuġana.
This is the English translation, from the same source:
Aaŋŋaayiña was born in Shishmaref. He grew up in Point Hope and Kivalina. He marries Aivayuaq. They had eleven children. Six of them are alive. One of the children is Qiñuġana.
The comparison of various vocabulary in three different dialects:
- The text formerly said: "As short vowels, 'a' is pronounced like the 'u' in English 'nut', 'i' is like the 'ee' in the English word 'sleep' and 'u' is like the 'u' in the English word 'rule'".
- The text formerly said: "When adjacent to the uvular consonants 'q' and 'ġ', they are lowered to 'au' in 'caught', 'a' in 'Kate' and 'oa' in 'coat', respectively.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin; Bank, Sebastian, eds. (2016). "Inupiatun". Glottolog 2.7. Jena: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- "SILEWP 1997-002". Sil.org. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "Inyupeat Language of the Arctic, 1970, Point Hope dialect". Language-archives.org. 2009-10-20. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- Frederick A. Milan (1959), The acculturation of the contemporary Eskimo of Wainwright Alaska
- "Sheldon Jackson in Historical Perspective". www.alaskool.org. Retrieved 2016-08-11.
- Krauss, Michael E. 1974. Alaska Native language legislation. International Journal of American Linguistics 40(2).150-52.
- "Iñupiaq/Inupiaq". languagegeek.com. Retrieved 2007-09-28.
- Burch 1980 Ernest S. Burch, Jr., Traditional Eskimo Societies in Northwest Alaska. Senri Ethnological Studies 4:253-304
- Spencer 1959 Robert F. Spencer, The North Alaskan Eskimo: A study in ecology and society, Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin, 171 : 1-490
- Project Naming, the identification of Inuit portrayed in photographic collections at Library and Archives Canada
- Kaplan, Lawrence (2000). "L'Inupiaq et les contacts linguistiques en Alaska". In Tersis, Nicole and Michèle Therrien (eds.), Les langues eskaléoutes: Sibérie, Alaska, Canada, Groënland, pages 91-108. Paris: CNRS Éditions. For an overview of Inupiaq phonology, see pages 92-94.
- "Interactive IñupiaQ Dictionary". Alaskool.org. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- "Ugiuvaŋmiuraaqtuaksrat / Future King Island Speakers". Ankn.uaf.edu. 2009-04-17. Retrieved 2012-08-23.
- Agloinga, Roy (2013). Iġałuiŋmiutullu Qawairaġmiutullu Aglait Nalaunaitkataat. Atuun Publishing Company.
Print Resources: Existing Dictionaries, Grammar Books and Other
- Barnum, Francis. Grammatical Fundamentals of the Innuit Language As Spoken by the Eskimo of the Western Coast of Alaska. Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1970.
- Blatchford, DJ. Just Like That!: Legends and Such, English to Inupiaq Alphabet. Kasilof, AK: Just Like That!, 2003. ISBN 0-9723303-1-3
- Bodfish, Emma, and David Baumgartner. Iñupiat Grammar. Utqiaġvigmi: Utqiaġvium minuaqtuġviata Iñupiatun savagvianni, 1979.
- Kaplan, Lawrence D. Phonological Issues in North Alaskan Inupiaq. Alaska Native Language Center research papers, no. 6. Fairbanks, Alaska (Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska, Fairbanks 99701): Alaska Native Language Center, 1981.
- Kaplan, Lawrence. Iñupiaq Phrases and Conversations. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska, 2000. ISBN 1-55500-073-8
- MacLean, Edna Ahgeak. Iñupiallu Tanņiḷḷu Uqaluņisa Iḷaņich = Abridged Iñupiaq and English Dictionary. Fairbanks, Alaska: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska, 1980.
- MacLean, Edna Ahgeak. Beginning North Slope Iñupiaq Grammar. Fairbanks, Alaska: Alaska Native Language Center, University of Alaska, 1979.
- Seiler, Wolf A. Iñupiatun Eskimo Dictionary. Kotzebue, Alaska: NANA Regional Corporation, 2005.
- Seiler, Wolf. The Modalis Case in Iñupiat: (Eskimo of North West Alaska). Giessener Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, Bd. 14. Grossen-Linden: Hoffmann, 1978. ISBN 3-88098-019-5
- Webster, Donald Humphry, and Wilfried Zibell. Iñupiat Eskimo Dictionary. 1970.
External links and language resources
|Inupiaq edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia|
There are a number of online resources that can provide a sense of the language and information for second language learners.
- Atchagat Pronunciation Video by Aqukkasuk
- Alaskool Inupiaq Language Resources
- Inupiaq Language on Alaskanativelanguages.com by Iyaġak
- Animal Names in Brevig Mission Dialect
- Atchagat App by the Grant and Reid Magdanz—Allows yo to text using Inupiaq characters:
- Dictionary of Inupiaq, 1970 University of Fairbanks PDF by Webster
- Endangered Alaskan Language Goes Digital from National Public Radio
- Inupiaq Handbook for Teachers (A story of the Inupiaq language and further resources):
- North Slope Grammar Second Year by Dr. Edna MacLean PDF
- Online Iñupiaq morphological analyser
- Storybook—The Teller Reader, A Collection of Stories in the Brevig Mission Dialect --
- Storybook—Quliaqtuat Mumiaksrat by Alaska Native Language Program, UAF and Dr. Edna MacLean
- Qargi.com: an online community focused on supporting modern and triditional Iñupiaq life, language and culture, a Iñupiaq social networking site focused on education and founded under the leadership of the Iñupiaq Education Department, North Slope School District and with the community support of Uncivilized Films (Naninaaq Productions), Community Prophets, Katalyst Web Design, Ilisaunnat, Iñupiaq History, Language and Culture Commission, Ilisagvik College, and the Smithsonian Insititute.
- The dialects of Inupiaq- From Languagegeek.com, includes Northern Alaskan Consonants (US alphabet), Northern Alaskan Vowels, Seward Peninsula Consonants, Seward Peninsula Vowels
- InupiaqWords YouTube account