|Iñupiatun, Inupiatun, Inupiaqtun|
|Native to||United States, formerly Russia; Northwest Territories of Canada|
|Region||Alaska; formerly Big Diomede Island|
|Ethnicity||44,331 Inupiat (2015)|
|6,740, 15% of ethnic population (2009-2013)|
|Latin (Iñupiaq alphabet)
Inuit dialects. Inupiat dialects are orange (Northern Alaskan) and pink (Seward Peninsula).
Inupiaq //, Inupiat // or Alaskan Inuit, is a group of dialects of the Inuit languages, spoken by the Inupiat people in northern and northwestern Alaska, and part of the Northwest Territories. The Inupiat language is a member of the Inuit-Yupik-Unangan language family, and is closely related to Inuit languages of Canada and Greenland. There are roughly 2,000 speakers. Inupiaq is an official language of the State of Alaska.
The main varieties of the Inupiaq language are Northern Alaskan Inupiaq and Seward Peninsula Inupiaq.
The Inupiaq language has been in decline since contact with English in the late 19th century. American colonization and the legacy of boarding schools have created a situation today where a small minority of Inupiat speak the Inupiaq language. There is, however, revitalization work underway today in several communities.
The Inupiaq language is an Inuit-Yupik-Unangan language, also known as Eskimo-Aleut, has been spoken in the northern regions of Alaska for as 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 1970s, 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 Nikaitchuat Ilisaġviat teaches grades PreK-1st grade in Kotzebue.
In 2014, Inupiaq became an official language of the State of Alaska, alongside English and nineteen other indigenous languages.
There are four main dialect divisions and these can be organized within two larger dialect collections:
Seward Peninsula Inupiatun consists of Bering Strait dialects (spoken on King Island and the Diomede Islands and the villages north of Nome) and Qawiaraq dialects (spoken in Teller, Qawiaraq, and the villages south of Nome as far as Unalakleet). Northern Alaskan Iñupiatun is spoken in the Northwest Arctic and North Slope regions, from Deering to Inuvik and Aklavik in the Mackenzie Delta in Northwest Territories.
|Dialect Collection||Dialect||Subdialect||Tribal Nation(s)|
|Seward Peninsula Inupiatun||Bering Strait||Diomede||Iŋalikmiut|
|Northern Alaskan Iñupiatun||Malimiutun||Kobuk||Kuuŋmiut, Kiitaaŋmiut [Kiitaaġmiut], Siilim Kaŋianiġmiut, Nuurviŋmiut, Kuuvaum Kaŋiaġmiut, Akuniġmiut, Nuataaġmiut, Napaaqtuġmiut, Kivalliñiġmiut|
|Coastal||Pittaġmiut, Kaŋiġmiut, Qikiqtaġruŋmiut|
|North Slope||Common North Slope||Utuqqaġmiut, Siliñaġmiut [Kukparuŋmiut and Kuuŋmiut], Kakligmiut [Sitarumiut, Utqiaġvigmiut and Nuvugmiut], Kuulugruaġmiut, Ikpikpagmiut, Kuukpigmiut [Kañianermiut, Killinermiut and Kagmalirmiut]|
Iñupiaq is a polysynthetic language, meaning that words can be extremely long with many postbases, endings, and enclitics connected to the initial root. The Iñupiaq category of number distinguishes singular, plural, and dual. Nouns are inflected in nine cases and for possession. Iñupiaq's case inventory includes ergative, absolutive, instrumental, allative, ablative, locative, perlative, similative and vocative. Iñupiaq does not have a category of gender and articles.
Verbs are inflected for number and person of their subject and object, as well as mood. Person, number and mood are expressed by a single morpheme. Iñupiaq marks future tense obligatorily while present and past tense are marked optionally.
Subject-object-verb is the most neutral word order. Subject-verb-object is also acceptable. Verb-initial sentences are grammatical but unusual. Iñupiaq displays ergative-absolutive alignment through case marking and verb agreement.
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Inupiaq has three basic vowels: a i u, phonemically /a i u/, phonetically [ɐ i u].[nb 1] 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.[nb 2] 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 /ə/; 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||/β/ ⟨v⟩||/s/ ⟨s⟩||/ʂ/ ⟨sr⟩ ~ /ʐ/ ⟨r, zr⟩||/ɣ/ ⟨g⟩||/ʁ/ ⟨ġ⟩|
|Nasals||/m/ ⟨m⟩||/n/ ⟨n⟩||/ɲ/ ⟨ñ⟩||/ŋ/ ⟨ŋ⟩|
|Laterals||/l/ ⟨l⟩ ~ /ɬ/ ⟨ł⟩||/ʎ/ ⟨ḷ⟩ ~ /ʎ̥/ ⟨ł̣⟩|
|Approximants||/ɻ/ ⟨r⟩||/j/ ⟨y⟩||/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?] 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:
|North Slope Iñupiaq||Northwest Alaska Iñupiaq
|King Island Iñupiaq||Qawiaraq dialect||English|
|tallimat malġuk||tallimat malġuk||tallimat maġluuk||mulġunilġit||7|
|tallimat piŋasut||tallimat piñasrut||tallimat piŋasut||piŋachuŋilgit||8|
|qulit atausiq||qulit atausriq||qulit atausiq||qulit atauchiq||11|
|iñuiññaq qulit||iñuiñaq qulit||inuinaq qulit||.||30|
|niġġivik||tiivlu, niġġivik||tiivuq, niġġuik||niġġiwik||table|
|nakuu-||nakuu-||naguu-||nakuu-||to be good|
|uvaŋa||uvaŋa||uaŋa||uwaŋa, waaŋa||I, me|
|paniqtaq||paniqtaq||paniqtuq||pipchiraq||dried fish or meat|
|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.
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