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Iñuvialuktun/Inuvialuktun/Inuinnaqtun / ᐃᓄᐃᓐᓇᖅᑐᓐ

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The Inuvialuktun group of dialects is spoken along the coast of the Northwest Territories. Uummarmiutun, spoken in Aklavik and in Inuvik, is considered a dialect of Iñupiaq, but is typically included with the other Inuvialuktun dialects. The language is spoken into Nunavut as far as ᓇᐅᔭᑦ Naujat (Repulse Bay). Much of the information on this page is from Dorais (1990).

The dialects of Inuvialuktun

There are three main dialect divisions:

  1. Siglitun
  2. Inuinnaqtun consisting of 4 subdialects: Kangiryuarmiutun, Coppermine, Bathurst, Cambridge
  3. Natsilingmiutut consisting of 3 subdialects: Natsilik, Arviligjuaq, Utkuhikhalik

The Siglitun and Inuinnaqtun dialects us a Roman orthography, while Natsilingmiutut speakers generally write in syllabics. The Roman orthography is given on this page.

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.

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The Canadian Census counts 575 Inuinnaqtun speakers in 2006. In the 1980s, there were about 2050 speakers in Canada (Dorais 1990). According to the 2001 census, there are 32,775 speakers of all dialects (Inuktitut, Inuvialuktun, Inupiaq) in Canada.


Inuvialuktun Syllabics


Community Names:

Siglitun: Tuktuujaqtuuq (Tuktoyaktuk), Paulatuuq (Paulatuk), Ikaasuk (Sachs Harbour), Inuuvik (Inuvik)

Inuinnaqtun: Kangiryuaq (Holman Island), Qurluqtuq (Coppermine), Umingmaktuuq (Bathurst Inlet), Iqaluktuuttiaq (Cambridge Bay)

Natsilingmiutut: ᐅᖅᓱᖅᑑᖅ (Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven), ᑕᓗᕐᔪᐊᑦ (Talurjuat/Spence Bay), ᐊᕐᕕᓕᒡᔪᐊᖅ (Arviligjuaq/Pelly Bay), ᓇᐅᔭᑦ (Naujat/Repulse Bay).

Inuvialuktun Consonants

  bilabial alveolar alveolar lateral palatal retroflex velar uvular glottal
voiceless stop p t tch1 k q  
voiced stop b2 dj1
voiceless fricative f3   ł s4 h4
voiced fricative v   l   r*5 g r  
approximant     j      
nasal m n ng    

Inuvialuktun Vowels

  front central back
high i   u
low   a  


  1. In Siglitun and Kangiryuarmiutun, the sound dj occurs as the first element in consonant clusters (where Natsilingmiutut would have r*). Double /yy/ and the cluster /ty/ are written tdj. The tch sound in Siglitun corresponds to /ts/~/tt/ in the other dialects.
  2. B occurs before /l/ and /y/.
  3. The ff sound occurs in Inuinnaqtun instead of /ps/
  4. The sound s is generally only found in Siglitun; it has been replaced by h in the other two dialects. When /h/ follows /k/ or /q/, the combinations are pronounced: kh [x], qh [χ].
  5. Natsilingmiutut has an extra sound, written on this page with r*. This is often pronounced dj or ł when it is the first element in consonant clusters. This sound is a retroflex approximate (Uummarmiutun), but linguists involved in Inuit languages write it with a struck-out j (ɉ) (which is very close visually to the IPA symbol for a palatal stop).
  6. Long sounds are written doubled: aa ii uu pp tt....
  7. An apostrophe is used in the orthography to distinguish /nŋ/ n’ng and /ŋŋ/ nng.

Uummarmiutun Consonants

  bilabial alveolar palatal retroflex velar uvular glottal
voiceless stop p t ch   k q  
voiceless lateral   ł        
voiced lateral   l        
voiceless fricative f   s kh qh h
voiced fricative v     g r  
approximant     y        
nasal m n ñ   ng    

Uummarmiutun Vowels

  front central back
high i   u
low   a  


  1. The Uummarmiutun orthography does not distinguish alveolar and palatal l and ł. In this dialect, [l] ~ [ʎ] or [ɬ] ~ [ɬʲ] are in complementary distribution, meaning there is little chance of mistaking one sound for another.
  2. Uummarmiutun has ff where the other Iñupiaq dialects have /ps/ or /vs/
  3. [ʂ] and [ʐ] are both written in Uummarmiutun. The sounds are in complementary distribution.
  4. Uummarmiutun has h where Siglitun and other dialects have /s/.
  5. An apostrophe is used to distinguish /nŋ/ n’ng and /ŋŋ/ nng.
  6. Long sounds are written doubled: aa ii uu pp tt...
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Last Update: Tuesday, October 10, 2006