Language experts meet in Iqaluit to try to standardize Inuktitut
A woman walks past a stop sign displayed in both English and Inuktitut in Iqaluit, Nunavut on March 28, 2009. Suicide is a long-running tragedy in Nunavut, where people kill themselves at 13 1/2 times the rate of the Canadian average. (Nathan Denette/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, February 17, 2016 2:01PM EST
Experts are meeting in Iqaluit to try to get Inuit people speaking the same language.
Although there are only about 60,000 Inuit in Canada, they are divided between nine different dialects and several wildly varying writing systems.
Natan Obed, head of Canada's national Inuit group, says those divisions hurt Inuit both culturally and economically.
He says those divisions make it harder to preserve Inuktitut and reduce the ability of schools to share curriculum materials.
He says many Inuit still prefer to write in syllabics, a system of symbols representing sounds that was developed by missionaries.
But Obed says many others believe writing using the same alphabet as English is the way forward for the language.