Learning the Inuit language the Qablunaaq Way

Translating these Testimonies of Inuit Survivors of Turquetil Hall/Sir Joseph Bernier Federal Day School, has allowed me to revisit some of the Inuit words that have been missing from me for many years now. I also use Inuktitut Dictionary, a multi-dialectal outlines, that uses Aivilingmiutaq (that's me), base, that was written and compiled by Alex Spalding, with the help of the late Thomas Kusugaq. This dictionary allows me to learn, how a Qablunaaq would say, certain words in Inuktitut, to English.

Speakers used the term in Inuktitut "Suuqaimma" quite a bit in their speeches. Zach, Bernadette, how would you translate this word in English? While, I know the word what it means in Inuktitut but I find it really hard to put it in to English language. Norm, how would you say that in English? Alex has it translated as: No wonder! It's not surprising! Suuqaimma qaujilaunnginnavit - No wonder, though!  After all, you didn't know about it.

I would use it this way, and try to come up with the closest translation: "Suuqaimma imiruli&&aravit!" No wonder, you're thirsty!  Or, suuqaimma taqa&&aravit" "No wonder, you are tired (you've been walking for a long time!"

Another one is "Sunauvva". The closest translation I would say is "Oh, that's how it is!" Sunauvva imna tikisimajuugaluaq "oh, apparently, he/she is in town". Sunauvva imna Peter Irniq, ikpaksaagu Mantulijaamunngauniartuq. "Oh apparently, in the near future/in a few days, Peter Irniq is going to Montreal".

Some words in Inuktitut are difficult to really translate into English language.

The word "aqaq" is a word that is missing in the English language. It is a word that is extremely difficult for me to try and translate into English language. Inuit say, or do all kinds of little things to little children to....establish expression to the little children or playful expressions to the little children, for example, here is what I say to my little grandson, in the Nattilingmiut dialect: "Anaanagannual&uk. nallinnattunnua&&uk, unanattunnual&uk, iniqunattunnua&&uk, niviunnattunnua&&uk....kunittiaqattaqlunuk.." When I do that, and upon hearing these words, my little grandson, used to start dancing or jumping...in a very cute, special way.

I'll try translating it:

"My dear little mother, such a loving little one, such a huge little, big, strong attachment as a little one, such a beautiful little boy, such an admirable little one, "give me a beautiful kiss"

Alex Spalding translated it this way:  "she dandles or plays with baby on her knee."  That is kind of part of it but it is much deeper than that, in terms of relationship with that particular child. Because, you do that "aqaqtuq" differently, with each child. I have never seen Qablunaat to "aqaq" children, the way, Inuit do. Zach, Bernadette, how would you describe that word in English? Norm, do you understand what I mean and how would you describe what I mean? Do you now, if the word exists in another language? How about in French language?


01 December 2008


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