ERIC Number: ED473889
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2001-May
Reference Count: N/A
Why Do They Speak Inuktitut? Language and Identity in Iqaluit.
Residents of Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut, discussed why they use Inuktitut or English in different circumstances. Interviews with 50 Inuit adults in Iqaluit inquired about their language usage with six categories of people: their parents, children, spouse, siblings, friends, and fellow workers. No gender differences were found, although some answers varied with age. Almost all respondents spoke only Inuktitut with their parents. About half spoke Inuktitut to their children all or most of the time, with respondents over 50 being the least likely to speak English to their children. Younger parents tended to use mostly Inuktitut with preschool children, but used mostly English or both languages with older children. Dual-language use between spouses was related to younger age and linguistically mixed marriages. Spouses who spoke mostly Inuktitut to each other were older or did so to model the language for their children. Similarly, older respondents were more likely to speak only Inuktitut to their siblings. Workplaces were generally bilingual; speaking English was necessary because of non-Inuit workers and the need to deal with non-Inuit topics. Iqaluit may be rightfully considered a diglossic community, since both languages are needed on a daily basis. However, Inuktitut is not considered an inferior language. Almost all Inuit residents speak Inuktitut fluently, transmit it to their children, and link it to their Inuit identity. (Author/SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (Ontario).
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the International Congress of Arctic Social Sciences (4th, Quebec City, Canada, May 16-20, 2001).