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Words of the Inuit

A Semantic Stroll through a Northern Culture

Louis-Jacques Dorais (author) Lisa Koperqualuk (Preface by)

ISBN: 9780887559143

Publication Date: Oct 2020

Format: Hardback

Also available as: Paperback  

An important compendium of Inuit culture illustrated through Inuit words. The book brings the sum of the author's decades of experience and engagement with Inuit and Inuktitut to bear on what he fashions as an amiable, leisurely stroll through words and meanings.
£64.95

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Words of the Inuit is an important compendium of Inuit culture illustrated through Inuit words. It brings the sum of the author's decades of experience and engagement with Inuit and Inuktitut to bear on what he fashions as an amiable, leisurely stroll through words and meanings.Inuit words are often more complex than English words and frequently contain small units of meaning that add up to convey a larger sensibility. Dorais' lexical and semantic analyses and reconstructions are not overly technical, yet they reliably evince connections and underlying significations that allow for an in-depth reflection on the richness of Inuit linguistic and cultural heritage and identity. An appendix on the polysynthetic character of Inuit languages includes more detailed grammatical description of interest to more specialist readers.

Organized thematically, the book tours the histories and meanings of the words to illuminate numerous aspects of Inuit culture, including environment and the land; animals and subsistence activities; humans and spirits; family, kinship, and naming; the human body; and socializing with other people in the contemporary world. It concludes with a reflection on the usefulness for modern Inuit-especially youth and others looking to strengthen their cultural identity to know about the underlying meanings embedded in their language and culture.

With recent reports alerting us to the declining use of the Inuit language in the North, Words of the Inuit is a timely contribution to understanding one of the world's most resilient Indigenous languages.
Illustrations 2 illustrations
Pages 344
Dimensions 152 x 229
Date Published 30 Oct 2020
Publisher University of Manitoba Press
Series Contemporary Studies on the North
Subject/s linguistics   Indigenous peoples   Historical & comparative linguistics   Sociolinguistics   Social & cultural anthropology  
  • Introduction: Words from the Past, A Stroll Through Inuit Semantics
  • Chapter 1 Words for Speaking About the Environment and Land
  • Chapter 2 Words for Speaking About Animals and Subsistence Activities
  • Chapter 3 Words for Speaking About Humans and Animals
  • Chapter 4 Words for Speaking About Family, Kinship, and Naming
  • Chapter 5 Words for Speaking About the Human Body
  • Chapter 6 Words for Socializing in the Contemporary WorldConclusion: Words for the Future
Louis-Jacques Dorais is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anthropology, Université Laval. Since the mid-sixties, a period of time when he became fluent in Inuktitut, he has travelled almost yearly to Inuit communities in Canada, Alaska and Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), in order to conduct research and teach Inuit linguistics to local students.

Lisa Koperqualuk is Curator and Mediator of Inuit Art at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. She has worked with Inuit organizations and committees at the provincial, federal and national levels since becoming Vice President of International Affairs at the Inuit Circumpolar Council. A trilingual speaker and trained anthropologist, she has worked as an Inuktitut teacher at John Abbot College, an educational councillor for the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, and as Director of Communications and Public Relations at the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec.

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