Which dialect should I learn?

Inuktut is a language spoken over a vast area of the Arctic where many different dialects evolved over time. We call Inuktut a single language because speakers from Alaska through the different Inuit regions of Canada and as far as Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland) share much of the same vocabulary and grammatical structures. This means that they are generally able to navigate dialect differences in order to understand one another, though this does not always happen with ease.

Inuktut has not been standardized to the same degree as other languages, such as English or French. In Greenland, there is some consensus about the use of a standard dialect for use in government, schools and the media. This is not the case in Canada where there is no standard dialect.

Tusaalanga contains materials on six of Nunavut’s biggest dialects, as well as Nunatsiavummiutut, spoken in the Nunatsiavut region of Labrador. To switch dialects, click on the change dialect link (purple text) in the top menu of this website.

South Qikiqtaaluk is the dialect spoken in the communities of southern Baffin Island, including the capital, Iqaluit.

North Qikiqtaaluk is spoken in northern Baffin Island as well as the communities of Iglulik and Sanirajak (Hall Beach) Ausuittuq (Grise Fiord) and Qausuittuq (Resolute Bay).

Aivilingmiutut is spoken in the communities along the western shore of Hudson’s Bay, including Naujaat, Igluligaarjuk (Chesterfield Inlet), Kangiqłiniq (Rankin Inlet) and in Salliit (Coral Harbour) on Southampton Island.

Paallirmiutut is spoken in the southern Kivalliq region, mainly in the communities of Arviat, Tikirarjuaq (Whale Cove) and Kangiqłiniq (Rankin Inlet).

Nattilingmiutut is spoken in the eastern part of the Qitirmiut (Kitikmeot) region, in the communities of Uqšuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven), Talurjuaq (Taloyoak) and Kuugaarřuk (Kugaaruk).

Inuinnaqtun is spoken in Qurluqtuq (Kugluktuk) and Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay).

The two Qikiqtaaluk dialects share much in common as do the two western dialects, Nattilingmiutut and Inuinnaqtun.  In between, Kivallirmiut has some characteristics of each.

For those interested in Nunatsiavummiutut spoken in the Inuit communities of the Nunatsiavut region of northern Labrador, the Tusaalanga content can be accessed through a separate portal:  nunatsiavut.tusaalanga.ca, as well as through the main site.