If you’re an English speaker trying to learn Inuktitut, there are three names you need to know... Mick Mallon, Alex Spalding and Louis-Jacques Dorais. These three men have done incredible work documenting, preserving and explaining Inuktitut grammar (respect to Jean Briggs & Kenn Harper also). Today let’s talk about some important works by the anthropologist Louis-Jacques Dorais.
Tukilik: An Inuktitut Grammar for All
Tukilik was produced in 1988 and it is one of the most comprehensive Inuktitut grammar books available. It contains logical explanations of the mechanics of the language... including complete tables of all transitive endings, becausitives, conditionals (if), dubitatives (-mangaat etc.), commands, participles (two things happening at the same time) and locative pronouns. These are the basic concepts you must understand to communicate in Inuktitut. Although it is produced in the Nunavik dialect, it still has lots of value for those learning in the Qikiqtaaluk region. Nunavik dialect is readily understandable to most Canadian Eastern Arctic speakers.
1000 Inuit Uqausingit
1000 Inuit words is a multi-dialect dictionary that was produced in 1990. Unlike a traditional dictionary, words are grouped together by meaning and not alphabetical order. It contains the words in English, French and 14 Inuit dialects from NWT, Nunavut, Nunavik and Greenland... making it an essential Inuktitut learning resource.
In addition to these works, Louis-Jacques Dorais has written grammar books for those desiring to learn Iglulingmiutitut, Aivilingmiutitut, Kinngarmiutitut and Iqalungmiutitut just to name a few. Most of his work is still available for order from the University of Laval’s Aboriginal Studies program. Send us your email if you’d like a list of the text books available and information on how to order.
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