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ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ / Inuktitut / Inuttut

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The Inuktitut group of dialects is spoken throughout Nunavut (except for the Inuvialuktun areas), and in Northern Quebec and Labrador. It is one of the official languages of Nunavut. Much of the information on this page is from Dorais (1990).

The dialects of Inuktitut

There are six main dialect divisions:

  1. Kivalliq consisting of 4 subdialects: Qairnirmiut, Hauniqturmiut, Paallirmiut, Ahiarmiut.
  2. Aivilik consisting of 2 subdialects: Southampton, Rankin
  3. North Baffin consisting of 2 subdialects: Iglulingmiut, Tununirmiut
  4. South Baffin consisting of 2 subdialects: Southeast Baffin, Southwest Baffin
  5. Nunavik consisting 2 subdialects: Itivimiut, Tarramiut
  6. Labrador Inuttut consisting of 2 subdialects: Northern Labrador, Rigolet

These six dialects can be organised into three larger dialect groups: Kivalliq-Aivilik, Baffin, Nunavik-Labrador.

Generally speaking, all these dialects write in syllabics, except for Labrador Inuttut which has its own unique Roman orthography. In the phonetic charts on this page, the Inuit Cultural Institute (ICI) Roman orthography will be used.

Note: There are several Roman Orthography conventions on this site that may require further explanation. On the charts below, there is lots of phonetic terminology that may not be familiar to everyone.

This page uses no characters outside the Unicode standard.

There are over 14,500 speakers in Canada in 1981 (Dorais 1990). The Canadian Census counts 35,695 Inuktitut speakers in 2006, up from 32,775 speakers of all dialects (Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, Inupiaq) in 2001.


Inuktitut Syllabics


Community Names:

Kivalliq: ᖃᒪᓂᑦᑐᐊᖅ (Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake), ᑎᑭᕋᕐᔭᖅ (Tikirarjuaq/Whale Cove)

Aivilik: ᓴᒡᓕᖅ (Sagliq/Southampton Island), ᐃᒡᓗᓪᓕᒑᕐᔪᒃ (Igluligaarjuk/Chesterfield Inlet), ᑲᖏᖅᖠᓂᖅ (Qangiqłiniq/Rankin Inlet).

North Baffin: ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ (Iglulik/Igloolik), ᓴᓂᕋᔭᖅ (Sanirajaq/Hall Beach), ᒥᑦᑎᒪᑕᓕᒃ (Mittimatalik/Pond Inlet), ᑲᖏᖅᑐᒑᐱᒃ (Kangiqtugaapik/Clyde River), ᐃᒃᐱᐊᕐᔪᒃ (Ikpiarjuk/Arctic Bay), ᓇᓂᓯᕕᒃ (Nanisivik), ᖃᐅᓱᑦᑐᖅ (Qausuittuq/Resolute), ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ (Aujuittuq/Grise Fiord)

South Baffin: ᑲᖏᖅᑐᒑᐱᒃ (Kangiqtugaapik/Clyde River), ᕿᑭᖅᑕᕐᔾᔪᐊᖅ (Qikiqtarjuaq/Broughton Island), ᐸᖕᓂᖅᑐᐅᖅ (Pangniqtuuq/Pangnirtung), ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ (Iqaluit/Frobisher Bay), ᑭᖕᒥᕈᒃ (Kingmiruk/Lake Harbour), ᑭᙵᐃᑦ (Kinngait/Cape Dorset)

Nunavik: ᑰᑦᔪᐊᕌᐱᒃ (Kuujjuaraapik/Great Whale River)*, ᐅᒥᐅᔭᖅ (Umiujaq), ᐃᓄᑦᔪᐊᖅ (Inujjuaq/Inukjuak), ᐳᕕᕐᓂᑐᐅᖅ (Puvirnituq), ᓴᓂᑭᓗᐊᖅ (Sanikiluaq), ᒣᓚᓯᒃᑯᑦ (Mailasikkut/Chisasibi)*, ᐊᑯᓕᕕᒃ (Akulivik), ᐃᕗᔨᕕᒃ (Ivujivik), ᓴᓪᓗᐃᑦ (Salluit), ᑲᖏᖅᓱᔪᐊᖅ (Kangiqsujuaq), ᖁᐊᖅᑕᖅ (Quaqtaq), ᑲᖏᕐᓱᒃ (Kangirsuk), ᐊᐅᐸᓗᒃ (Aupaluk), ᑕᓯᐅᔭᖅ (Tasiujaq), ᑰᑦᔪᐊᖅ (Kuujjuaq/Fort Chimo), ᑲᖏᖅᓱᐊᓗᑦᔪᐊᖅ (Kangiqsualujjuaq), ᑕᕐᐸᖓᔪᖅ (Tarpangajuq), ᑭᓪᓕᓂᖅ (Killiniq/Port Burwell)†.

Labrador Inuttut: Naini (Nain), Hopedale, Maqûvik (Makkovik), Ukkusitsalik (Davis Inlet)*†, Vaali (Goose Bay–Happy Valley), Nutâk (Nutak)†, Hebron†, Tikirarsuarusik (Rigolet), Northwest River*

* Primarily a Cree, Naskapi, or Innu community.
† Now moved to a different location.

Inuktitut Consonants

  bilabial alveolar alveolar lateral palatal velar uvular glottal
voiceless stop p t k q  
voiced stop b1
voiceless fricative     ł2 s3 h3
voiced fricative v   l   g r  
approximant     j4      
nasal m n ng    

Inuktitut Vowels

  front central back
high i   u
low   a  


  1. B occurs before /l/ and /y/ in Ailivik.
  2. The ł sound occurs in Kivalliq, Ailivik, and North Baffin dialects.
  3. The sound s has been replaced by h in Kivalliq.
  4. /j/ is pronounced like the English ‘r’ is Povungnituk, Inukjuak, and Sanikiluaq. It sounds like the ‘zh’ sound in ‘measure’ in Umiujaq and Kuujjuaraapik.
  5. Long sounds are written doubled: aa ii uu pp tt....

Inuttut Consonants

  bilabial alveolar alveolar lateral palatal velar uvular
voiceless stop p t k K
voiceless fricative  f   dl s
voiced fricative v   l   g
approximant     j    
nasal m n ng  

Inuttut Vowels

  front central back
high i (e)   u (o)
low   a  


  1. Dj is written for /jj/.
  2. The letters e and o are used instead of /i/ and /u/ before uvular K.
  3. Dl stands for the ł sound.
  4. F is underlying /vv/. Long /gg/ is pronounced [x].
  5. Long vowels are written with a circumflex accent: â. Geminate (long) consonants are not consistantly differentiated from their regular counterparts.
  6. Regarding Labrador Inuttut’s orthography: the uvular K and the velar k. I do not know how these are distinguished when capitalised, e.g. at the beginning of a sentence or proper name.
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Last Update: Friday, August 18, 2006