This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Nuts and Bolts: Inuktun.

There being elves all over the world (or so I'm told) we can, I suppose, assume that there are many Elfish languages.

We can also, I think, accept that elves will quite often speak the local human language (or is it the other way round?) for purposes of playing tricks, seduction, trade, etc.

In that case, many elves must be fluent in Inuktun, which is the language of the people who live nearest to the North Pole. These people are to be found in Qaanaaq, in Greenland, and its surrounding villages.

There aren't many people who speak Inuktun - perhaps a thousand in all - so perhaps Inuktun might even be unique in the world in being spoken by more elves than people. I mean, Santa must need a lot of help.

Anyway.

Inuktun is also known as North Greenlandic, Polar Eskimo, or Thule Eskimo (and those are only the English names for the language. One Danish name is, endearingly, thulesproget. In the official Greenlandic dialect it's Avanersuarmiutut).

There's no official way of writing down Inuktun, and the language is not taught in schools, but most inhabitants of Qaanaaq use it in their everyday communication. 

The Inuktun-speaking people probably didn't get to Greenland from Canada until the 1700s. Inuktun-speakers say their esses differently from nearby people (more like the ch in loch), and they are especially relaxed about the need for vowels between consonants. In fact they only seem to have three vowels and thirteen simple consonants, plus five more consonants that are only used in combination.

I'll leave you with a lovely Inuktun word, aivvaqatauqattarhamahukkalaanga. It means although I have taken part in a walrus hunt. Aivvaq means to hunt walrus, qatau means to do together, qattar means to do habitually, hama describes something to do with a completed action, and hukkalaaq means although or but.

Isn't that marvellous and beautiful and amazing? It seems almost beyond human ingenuity to construct a word like that...

...hmm...

...do you think the elf-language theory above might sometimes work in the other direction?

No?

Ah well!

Word To Use Today: Inuktun. This word means big people.




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