Nunatsiavut government launches online Inuttitut language course

·2 min read
Brenda Jararuse is one of the people who worked with the Pirurvik Centre to create the online Inuttitut course.  (Submitted - image credit)
Brenda Jararuse is one of the people who worked with the Pirurvik Centre to create the online Inuttitut course. (Submitted - image credit)

There's a new resource for people wanting to learn Inuttitut in Nunatsiavut. The Nunatsiavut government, in partnership with the Pirurvik Centre in Nunavut, is launching an Inuttitut course on the Tusaalanga learning portal.

"It's a resource that I think really has been missing amongst our programming and within our region. So I think it really is going to fill in a big blank," said Brenda Jararuse, Nunatsiavut's director of culture.

The Piruvik Centre's online Tusaalanga portal has six other courses in different dialects. The Nunatsiavut course includes different sections with a glossary of Nunatsiavut's dialect of Inuttitut, lessons, grammar work and dialogues. It includes physical workbooks as well.

"The books will be used for adult immersion programs as well as the schools, so we'll be sending the books to everyone within Nunatsiavut that are planning on doing immersion classes," Jararuse said.

The official launch will be held in Hopedale on May 9 and streamed on Facebook, Jararuse said.

"I just hope that really it brings Inuttitut back into our spaces, our workspaces, community groups, people within their homes," said Roxanne Barbour, Nunatsiavut's minister for language, culture and tourism.

Watch: The Nunatsiavut government has created videos to encourage people to speak Inuttitut:

The course launch is one element of the Nunatsiavut government's Inuttitut language blitz. Barbour said the blitz is the result of years of work and goes back to a language summit held in November 2019 and the government's language strategy.

"Inuttitut is a core piece of who we are as Inuit," Barbour said. "It's important to build up the courage and just make that first step and say, 'I want to learn Inuttitut because I'm Inuit.'"

The language blitz is also going to include posters, online videos, online live classes for beginners and intermediate speakers, on-the-land immersion programming, and a word of the day with CBC's Labrador Morning.

Watch: The Nunatsiavut government's video meant to encourage new Inuttitut speakers:

There's a lot of baggage when it comes to learning Inuttitut, Jararuse said, but she hopes people can see the other side as well.

"There's a lot of historical traumas of why it's such a hard thing for us to do. But at the same time, it's such a beautiful thing. It's so fun to speak Inuttitut," Jararuse.

Start small: Advice for new learners 

Barbour said she hopes the language blitz helps people take the responsibility to learn Inuttitut. Barbour said it can give people a sense of empowerment.

"Anybody who's never really grew up hearing Inuktitut, especially Nunatsiavimuit, it's important to really claim that back for yourself," Barbour said.

Barbour said people should start with learning a word a day, a phrase a day, and practice so learning becomes a habit, and not be afraid to make mistakes.

"Mistakes must be made to be able to learn something ... the more mistakes you make, the better, because you learn from your mistakes," she said.

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