by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/09/25 19:56 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/09/25/771330.aspx
You know that list of languages, the one that keeps getting bigger all of the time? You know, the one with اردو, മലയാളം, Qhichwa Simi, فارسی, isiZulu, ಕನ್ನಡ, नेपाली, Afrikaans, कोंकणी, Setswana, বাংলা, తెలుగు, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Lëtzebuergisch, and татарча on it?
Well, let's add Inuktitut to the list, because Microsoft has just released a Language Interface Pack for Inuktitut!
Some background info on Inuktitut (courtesy of Soren!):
Number of speakers: 30,000
Name in the language itself: Inuktitut (a.k.a. ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ)
Inuktitut is, along with English and French, the official language of Nunavut, the largest of the territories of Canada which was created in 1999. Nunavut is spoken by about 80% of the population there as well as all other areas in Canada north of the tree line, like the Northwest Territories where it is official language, too. In Nunavik, a semi-autonomous portion of Quebec, it has legal recognition and enjoys official support.
While for a long time sharing the fate of most indigenous languages in the Americas, namely getting closer and closer to extinction, for Inuktitut the last census data indicate that the number of speakers has stopped declining and might even be increasing in Nunavut.
Because of the huge area in which Inuktitut is spoken (see below), it has a big dialectal diversity. Some scholars even count Greenlandic as a variant, though it is more commonly considered a language of its own.
Inuktitut is an agglutinative language in which a succession of different morphemes are added to root words to express for what other languages need several words or sentences.
- Inuktitut is spoken in one of the least densely populated areas of the world: While the area of Nunavut has the size of Western Europe its population is 30,000. Even Greenland has double the density.
- Inuktitut knows only three vowels (a, i, u), which can be pronounced short or long.
- How many words are there for snow in Inuktitut? Well, the whole "The Inuit have thousands of words for snow" story is more of an urban legend (and probably based on misunderstandings). But I spare you the linguistic details…
Inuktitut belongs to the eastern group of Inuit, one of the two branches of the Inuit-Aleut (Eskimo-Aleut) language family.
Inuktitut is written either in the Latin alphabet (which was introduced to the region by Moravian missionaries) or the Inuktitut syllabary which is based on the Cree syllabary created by the missionary James Evans. This syllabary got its present form in the 1970s when it was adopted by the Inuit Cultural Institute in Canada.
Isn't it fun to see one of those descriptions for the original issues behind snowclones? :-)
This post brought to you by ᐃ (U+1403, a.k.a. CANADIAN SYLLABICS I)
# ReallyEvilCanine on 26 Sep 2006 9:37 AM:
# Charles Bocock on 26 Sep 2006 10:45 AM:
# Mihai on 26 Sep 2006 1:14 PM:
# Michael S. Kaplan on 26 Sep 2006 2:08 PM:
# Mihai on 26 Sep 2006 4:37 PM:
# Charles Bocock on 26 Sep 2006 5:16 PM:
2007/06/02 Azeri zeriouz LIP releaze
2006/12/01 Curious Georg[ian] gets a LIP
2006/10/31 Mapudungun is not a map to a dungeon
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