ERIC Number: EJ899251
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jul
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
The Future of Inuktitut in the Face of Majority Languages: Bilingualism or Language Shift?
Applied Psycholinguistics, v28 n3 p515-536 Jul 2007
Inuktitut, the Eskimo language spoken in Eastern Canada, is one of the few Canadian indigenous languages with a strong chance of long-term survival because over 90% of Inuit children still learn Inuktitut from birth. In this paper I review existing literature on bilingual Inuit children to explore the prospects for the survival of Inuktitut given the increase in the use of English in these regions. Studies on code mixing and subject realization among simultaneous bilingual children ages 2-4 years show a strong foundation in Inuktitut, regardless of extensive exposure to English in the home. However, three studies of older Inuit children exposed to English through school reveal some stagnation in children's Inuktitut and increasing use of English with age, even in nonschool contexts. I conclude that current choices about language use at the personal, school, and societal levels will determine whether Inuit are able to reach and maintain stable bilingualism, or whether Inuktitut will decline significantly in favor of majority languages.
Descriptors: Language Maintenance, Eskimos, Foreign Countries, Eskimo Aleut Languages, Bilingualism, Canada Natives, English (Second Language), Second Language Learning, Educational Environment, Language Usage, Language Skill Attrition, Children, Age
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada