|NWT Literacy Council||L a n g u a g e s o f t h e L a n d|
THE INUVIALUKTUN DIALECT
Inuvialuktun is a regional dialect of Inuktitut. It is the language of the Inuvialuit people, who have a distinct cultural identity. Unlike Inuktitut, which is a very strong language, the Inuvialuktun dialect has been in decline for a number of years. The language is rooted in the Beaufort-Delta area of the Northwest Territories, which has had a very long history of contact through whaling, trapping, and hydrocarbon development with Western society and the English language.
In the Canada Census, Inuvialuktun is not identified as a distinct language statistically, it is included with Inuktitut. With the creation of the new Northwest Territories, the status of Inuvialuktun will likely change it will have to be accounted for as a distinct NWT language.
The Language Report (1992) studied and reported on Inuvialuktun as a separate language. During this study, one hundred and seventy six people from the communities of Inuvik, Sachs Harbour, and Tuktoyaktuk were interviewed.
In Part 2 of this study, the following results were noted.
Clearly, an alarming language shift has occurred in just two generations - grandparents to grandchildren. With no fluent child speakers emerging (no mother-tongue speakers being raised) this dialect is in serious danger of being lost within the next generation.
According to the Inuvialuktun Language Plan, the following actions must be taken to preserve and revitalize the language.
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