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A nationalistic language in Arctic Canada?

by David Robert Lipscomb

The theme of this NARF conference has been development and the Arctic. In that context I should like to present my argument for a nationalistic language in Arctic Canada. This nationalistic language can do wonders for cultural and political development, if certain measures are taken by the Canadian Inuit themselves. Our keynote speaker has described the historical development of the discipline, the sociology of development, including the schools of thought. The neo-liberal school may dominate development in Canada generally - in terms of free trade with USA and Mexico, participation in APEC and WTO. Québec seems to base its development on both neo-liberal and dependency theories in that the government of Québec offers free trade in one hand and rebukes colonial and postcolonial attitudes with the other.
Development in the Arctic has been similarly dual. The neo-liberal efforts of the various missionaries and traders have become areas for which the Inuit have sought redress. With established and growing autonomy, however, new trends must arise. I hope to see a culturalism and a comparative political economy arise in the hearts and minds of Arctic dwellers and interested parties. In this article I intend to shed light on various aspects of both political-economic and cultural development in a comparative perspective.
At issue here is the ability of autonomous Inuit areas/peoples in the Canadian Arctic to realize their own cultural-political-economic development. In terms of neo-liberal thinking - as presented in the latest case against the reformative aims of the Canadian government and its willing ecclesiastical institutions - the choice of Inuktitut as a language of instruction and commerce was (and still is) seen as an irrational choice. As the Inuit argumentatively could not participate in the national and later global economy without a national and global language, they must be forced to learn them/one: such was the thinking. The depedency reaction to this value-judgement was an accusation and feelings of hurt, abuse and exploitation. This abuse of individuals and language is morally wrong, and Canada has apologized and made monetary compensation for damages. The next point, which has been relevant for a very long time now, is who is going to make learning and retaining Inuktitut a rational choice?
Language and culture are indivisible for many people groups in the world. In the case of the Inuit, they are an international folk and have near relatives across the Arctic. The same language is spoken in Greenland and Alaska, while related languages are in use in Alaska and the Chukotka Peninsula of fareast Russia. Through such institutions as the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, Yup'it and Inuit have gathered to exchange experiences and to support each other culturally. We have not as yet seen a strong exchange and common development of teaching materials for linguistic and cultural continuity. It is my sincere hope that dependency on blaming others for history and lost chances will be dropped as a way of doing things and greater internal and external cooperation will result. In my view the investment will necessarily be time - from educators and cultural enthusiasts - to promote Inuit/Yupik language and culture, as well as to devise teaching and socialising materials for more subjects than merely those offered in the primary school years. This is one very important aspect of the possible victory over personal difficulties such as meaninglessness, followed by substance abuse and even self-achieved death.
Self-determination for independent people is often termed as a discovery of self, not a denial or a rebuke of others. Giddens (1990), The Consequences of Modernity, describes how one consequence of high risk modernity on people is the lack of ontological security. Articles in Archibugi and Held (1995) suggest that many more people in the world will have multiple identities of people group, region, nation-state, and supranational organization. It is in this vein that I wish to discuss to what extent specific dialects of Inuktitut and specific writing conventions can attain "national" language status in the Canadian Arctic and bear with them the self-determination of independent people within a state of multiple identities.
From the Sociology of Language as a discipline (Holmes 1992) we understand that languages have both corpus and status. A part of development is the planning of the corpus and the status of a language, hereunder dialect (Eastman 1983). The Official Languages Act prior to the 1982 Constitution established English and French as official languages of Canada. This was status-planning. The implementation of this plan has involved different types of bilingual and immersion programs. Québec has attempted to counteract this development by making its own language laws, the implementation of which has created trilingualism in Arctic Québec as well as an increase in French among all residents of the province. Manitoba and New Brunswick have achieved a certain level of political and social bilingualism for English and French, while the other provinces have had difficulty upholding the status of French in overwhelmingly non-French-speaking areas. The referendum in the Northwest Territories of the early 1990's showed that Inuktitut and its dual writing system had achieved official language status in the Territories.
The second aspect of language-planning, corpus-planning, has also involved speakers of Inuktitut as well as other Canadians. A dictionary and other standards of Canadian English provide schools and the general communtity with conventions which inevitably give Canadian English a separate corpus with respect to British and American English. This has been especially true under metrication. Canadian French differs from Parisian French in policy towards loanwords and in general due to a separate development under its own distinct corpus-planning institutions. Likewise many First Nations have gathered linguistically acute members in language councils and have planned translations of words for new technology and other terminology. Here is one distinct area where cultural/linguistic development differs in Canada with its many languages and Greenland with its few. Greenlandic includes a greater percentage of loanwords than Canadian Inuktitut. In this way the culturalism and comparative political economic attitudes of the Canadian First Nations and especially of the Inuit have protected their languages/cultures from linguistic pressures because of "modernization" and especially terminological innovation.
American social/racial divisions allow for five main groups: Hispanic, Afro-American, Asian/Pacific Islander, Americanindian and Non-hispanic white. Canada does not promote such a division as such but in much government material and indeed in social parlance, members of First Nations ("Indian and Inuit") have been given a separate status. This might also follow more particularly from the rights of ancestry involved in land claims. Benedict Anderson describes in his book, Imagined Communities the development of Latin American nation-states out of a colonial past, but with major differences with respect to the boundaries of "imagined communities" (Anderson 1996). People form groups often with respect to other people who are viewed as unified. In this way the acculturation of the Canadian Arctic proposes that Euro-Canadians made it very difficult for the Canadian Inuit not to take on traits such as lifestyles and language of the encroaching Euro-Canadian "civilization". Before that encroachment, the Inuit had mythologized the Dorsetman and those who lived inland, the various Indians of the North American continent. The encroaching whalers, for instance, received the term qallunaat, and the Inuit ("people") could imagine themselves as different from the Qallunaat (see Van der Voort 1996). In the age of land claims since the Second World War, various members of the First Nations have sought Inuit support for a common stand on land claims. No Inuit group has deemed this proposal to be worthwhile. One possible reason is the lack of affinity as seen from the Inuit side. Inuit imagine themselves to be different from the inland-dwellers and the Qallunaat.
Political divisions in the Canadian Arctic can account for some different groupings among the Canadian Inuit than what language and culture could define. The Inuit of Arctic Québec, for instance, found themselves since 1912 in the province of Québec. This situation differed minimally from experiences in Keewatin or Baffin until a land claims agreement was forced on them in 1975. This agreement led to the autonomous region of Nunavik, north of the 55th parallel. Starting with education, Nunavik has enjoyed growing autonomy from a distant government. While the Nunavimmiut have also needed to imagine themselves as different from Baffin and Keewatin Inuit, especially those of the Belcher Islands, they formerly saw themselves in their provincial context as Kapammiut (Québec-dwellers). Only time will tell how well the Nunavimmiut can imagine themselves to be distinct from the Inuit of Labrador and Nunavut. They certainly know that they live with Québec's uncertain future.
A second example is the Labrador Inuit. Though they live just on the other side of Point Burwell, they have for as much as two centuries had very different associations. First, they were missionized by the Moravians who established their latinized writing system. Secondly, since 1923 they have been in the Labrador (territory) of the province of Newfoundland which only entered Canada in 1949 and even then as a very independent spirit. Much longer and more intense contact with the Indian Innu group and Euro-Canadian settlers have resulted in a threatened language and small numbers. Their attempts to join Nunavik, Nunavut or to attain their autonomy even with respect to education have been without success at this date. Many Labrador Inuit imagine themselves nonetheless to be distinct from Innu and settlers and wish to retain their language and culture. Will this be possible without private sponsorship in the form of heritage language after school supplementary education? Many Labrador Inuit feel abandoned by their Inuit neighbours.
On the western edge of Canada, the Inuit of the Mackenzie Delta have found a common identity despite linguistic and possibly cultural differences (Edwards 1985). Three linguistic groups - North Slope, Mackenzie, and Copper - have had sufficiently common socio-political development that they view themselves as the "Inuvialuit". As part of their separateness they agreed to a land claim in 1985, without other Inuit or the Indians of the Mackenzie district. Their imagined community includes a distinct historical development on the Mackenzie delta from other Inuit towards the west and the east. French-speaking Roman Catholic and English-speaking Anglican missionary activity dominated the area until the post-war period when greater pluralism began. Again like the Labrador Inuit they have had much prolonged contact with both Indians and settlers, and like the Labrador Inuit their language has suffered. While Labrador Inuttut (the dialect) has undergone a dangerous amount of simplification, the dialects spoken in the Inuvialuit area are not spoken by more than one-third of all cultural Inuit. Thus, despite the lack of a common linguistic ability as a means of distinction, the Inuvialuit know that they differ from the settlers and the Indians (including the Northern Métis) of the area.
The central position, the size of the land mass and the apparent plurality of the Nunavut Inuit give the impression of a commonwealth of Inuit regions. The regions of Kitikmeot, Keewatin and Baffin will join forces in the new territory of Nunavut on April 1, 1999. I have argued here and elsewhere (Lipscomb 1997) that divisions in the Canadian Arctic have their base in historical and political circumstances which are not easily rearranged.
The question then is, does what is left after other land claims agreements consitute an imagined community? Will the Nunavummiut view themselves as distinct from the Nunavimmiut, the Labrador Inuit and the Inuvialuit? Again, the Inuit of Nunavut rejected a common land claim with the Indians of the Fort Smith area, probably because of a lack of acknowledged affinity. The election system (first-past-the-post) in Nunavut will likely limit the potential influence of Euro-Canadians who will likely need to assimilate to Nunavut culture in order to gain election.
Nunavummiut imagine themselves to be other than the inland-dwellers and Qablunaat. As a first hypothesis I suppose that political pragmatism creates a certain affinity for Baffin, Kitikmeot and Keewatin. If the goal was to unite all Canadian Inuit and that was not possible because of the provinces and the Inuvialuit's separate interests, then Nunavut is the next-best option. Indeed a league with the Indians of Fort Smith would likely give a long life to the pluralistic Northwest Territories. At this point it is unclear how Benedict Anderson's theory of nationalism can help us to understand divisions in the Canadian Arctic.
Michael Billig builds and expands on Benedict Anderson's theory of nationalism (Billig 1995). For Billig nationalism has two basic forms: terrorism and banal nationalism. We know terrorism well from the civil wars in Yugoslavia and Ireland/Northern Ireland. Banal nationalism is well-known and therefore overlooked. Many people react strongly when they see their flag blowing in the wind. Patriotic nations such as the American one actually salute their flag and their national anthem eulogizes the star-spangled banner. I doubt that the provincial flags of Québec and Newfoundland do much for the Nunavimmiut and the Labrador Inuit. Between the flag of the Northwest Territories and the polar bear license plate, I would bet on the license plate as being a possible symbol of banal nationalism, especially for the Inuit. What do autonomous people do for banal nationalism without a flag? Here Billig refutes the hypothesis that a languagecan be nationalistic. He argues that languages are so pluralistic that only one dialect of that language could possibly be codified and presented as the official national variety. He gives the example of the unification of France under Parisian French. One could also mention general Canadian English at the expense of Newfoundland's dialects.
According to Billig, then, one dialect could be used, possibly in the pursuit of national unity, to create an imagined linguistic community. The Canadian Inuit can certainly understand each other's Inuktitut, but will dialect differences and differences in writing systems separate them? I argue here that the answer is complex because it follows from the already established divisions among Canadian Inuit. Even if the Nunavimmiut and the Labrador Inuit spoke the same dialect, they could not enjoy joint autonomy because of political divisions. If a provincial boundary did not separate them, they would certainly come together, despite dialect differences.
We must first look carefully at the linguistic divisions in the Canadian Arctic (see Dorais 1990 and Lipscomb 1991). Dialects of Inuktitut follow by detailed and grouped dilineation. I have also included the usual writing system.
Inuvialuit (Roman orthography)
North Slope
Central (Roman orthography, syllabics)
Baffin (Roman orthography, syllabics)
North Baffin
South Baffin
Arctic Québec (syllabics)
Hudson Bay
Hudson Strait
Labrador (Roman orthography)
The largest dialectal division is between eastern and western Inuktitut and Labrador Inuttut differs considerably from other eastern. The Roman orthography in Labrador has the same origin as that of Greenlandic: Moravian missionaries. The Roman orthography of Inuvialuit comes from both Roman Catholic and Anglican missionary use. The Anglican mission in the Eastern Arctic introduced a syllabic writing system among the Canadian Inuit after its success among the Cree of James Bay. Once many texts had become available in this writing system, Inuit took them on their travels, and often the texts and a certain faith in them preceded the missionaries of the Anglican and the Roman Catholic missions (see Lidegaard 1991, for instance, for details). The work of the eastern Arctic missions was therefore based on the syllabic texts, while the western Arctic missions employed Roman orthography. The overlapping area for the two orthographies was in the Netsilik area.
Two attempts have been made to standardize Canadian Inuktitut. In the 1950's the Canadian government devised and promoted The Standard Orthography which was originally based on the Central dialect, Caribou. This writing system did not catch on. Possibly because without institutional methods of promoting it, the government could only hope that private interests would adopt it. The other attempt was likely not separated from other Anglican missionary interests. But the Anglican church (as a local gathering centre for all ages, with written materials in syllabic Inuktitut and participatorial rituals) has inadvertantly created a widely-used and readily available script, albeit with concervative spelling for some dialects. Probably in the interest of unity, the Inuit Cultural Institute adopted the popular syllabic script with the Roman orthography (see Burnaby 1985). The syllabic script was then modified for use with electronic media and to accommodate dialect differences better.
I argue then that this syllabic script creates banal nationalism among the Inuit of Nunavik. Nunavik differs from Nunavut in being less pluralistic. The common religion of churchgoers in Nunavik is Anglican. Publications in Nunavik do not use The Standard Orthography but the syllabic script and English/French. The Kativik school board ensures that both pre-school and primary school includes Inuit linguistic and cultural content. After this, participation in church services at least gives regular Inuktitut and syllabic script socialization. This applies then to all churchgoers - whether they are Inuit or Qallunaat. As the Nunavimmiut have enjoyed autonomy since 1975 the current situation might be described as stable. 98% of the Inuit population use Inuttitut daily. In addition, various members of the population are active in defining what is Inuttitut and what is not.
The differences between the two Nunavimmiut dialects has always been minimal and these differences do not mean that the syllablic script used in official publications affronts the one or the other group of speakers. In general in terms of language-planning, the corpus-planning creates a unified set of terms as a continuation of commonly accepted dictionaries and teaching materials. A common Nunavimmiut dialect has official language status.
On the basis of small differences and common goals, the Nunavimmiut seem to have a national language. Inuttitut with the syllabic script defines who they are with respect to all other people groups. It will be interesting to see to what extent the Nunavimmiut engage in cultural and linguistic exchanges within ICC and over the Internet. The limited contact for presumably the elite few will likely have ad hoc solutions rather than being a globaliza tion/modernization effect which lessens the power of Inuttitut and the syllabic script in Nunavimmiut banal nationalism.
Next, what can be said about Labrador Inuttut as a nationalistic language? At this point I feel the need to introduce the concepts of language maintenance and language death. Decreasing linguistic viability follows naturally from acculturation and especially dependency theories of development.
It is a pity that historical links between Labrador and Greenland have not resulted in mutual linguistic and cultural benefit. A past with the syllabic script would likely have protected Labrador Inuttut against simplification. Languages die because of disuse. Typically their grammars simplify, take in increasing amounts of loanwords and lose status. Since the presence of the Moravians in the early 20th century all three aspects have taken place. Labrador Inuttut has lost certain consonantal oppositions which has led to homonymy. It has also been difficult for Labrador Inuit to learn their language thoroughly because of a lack of supporting institutions such as schools, church and media. Finally, low status for Inuttut and Indian languages with respect to English in Labrador, especially in relation to the government and the schools threatens Labrador Inuttut as a rational choice for the future. We have seen from Alaska that linguistic ability is not a necessary aspect of cultural identity, and this may be the future for the Labrador Inuit, unless they manage to improve the situation. Labrador Inuttut lacks any status.
It is possible that the importation of teaching materials, a vernacular church tradition, some printed media (such as a weekly) and radio and television broadcasts in common with Nunavik and Nunavut can give new life to this floundering dialect. In order to avoid being overrun by other stronger dialects, the Labrador Inuit will need to revitalize the dialect known by the Moravians and similar to Nunavimmiut. As they are in a linguistic corner, however, they may need to adopt a syllabic script so they can borrow directly from Nunavik. Indeed the obstacles to success are great. As I see it, it is a shame for the Labrador Inuit that they lack sufficient social organization. Without a strong civil society, they will not be able to overcome the weight of state and market against their language.
On the western edge of the Canadian Arctic the circumstances were similar and yet different. The Inuvialuit established the Committee for Original People's Entitlement. This committee hired a linguist, Ronald Lowe, over a three year period to document the vocabulary and grammar of the three dialects in the Inuvialuit area. He also found that as few as one-third of the Inuit associated with each dialect actually spoke it. In terms of language maintenance the Inuvialuit will need to establish certain institutional supports for their dialects or choose to promote one at the expense of the others for the sake of saving any form of Inuktitut in the area. In my view it is a pity for them that their church cannot help them here. The Roman Catholic mass has trouble promoting another language than Latin, the Anglican church has a very mixed congregation and the newer churches rely on English and lack the linguistic sophistication to save a threatened language. Billig is probably correct in this case: either the Inuvialuit will need to promote one dialect at the expense of the others, or none of the dialects can succeed as a national language. Let us say that primary school in the Siglit dialect is a possibility - and this would require very great investments in the preparation of teaching materials and teacher training - then children will learn Siglit in schools. What about adults and children of English-speaking Inuit? Thus, saving Inuktitut in Inuvialuit will require immersion for children and adults - an even greater hurdle. I do not see the Inuvialuit solving their dilemma by adopting the syllabic orthography. I only see that viability for Inuktitut in the Mackenzie delta must come from carefully coordinated language-planning by the Inuvialuit themselves.
The success in Nunavik must come from the many supporting institutions. Another advantage for Inuttitut in Nunavik is the printed media. A quarterly, Makivik News, and a bi-annual magazine, Tumivut, report in the syllabic script and in English is available for Nunavik readers. These have become corporation organs which report and promote. Makivik News is the organ for the Makivik Corporation which also owns the airline First Air. Tumivut comes from the Avataq Cultural Institute as the cultural magazine of the Nunavik Inuit. The language-planning element in Makivik News can be seen in the advertisements for school materials as well as announcements/invitations to meetings on corpus-planning throughout Nunavik. The latest issue also contained Nunavik at a glance: a collection of statistics on Nunavik. Both these magazines have parallel articles in English and Syllabic Inuttitut. Inuit Tapirisat Corporation claims to serve the Canadian Inuit. They produce the bi-monthly newspaper, Uqausiksat in English, Syllabics and Roman orthography. Its aim is to promote Inuit culture and values. Also the monthly magazine, Inuktitut has English, Syllabics and Roman orthography. These two publications originate in Ottawa, as yet I do not know the significance of that. What may have clearer implications is the weekly newspaper, Nunatsiaq News in English and syllabics only - from Iqaluit with editorial offices in Cambridge Bay (Kitikmeot) and Rankin Inlet (Keewatin). A weekly with only Inuktitut in syllabics from Iqaluit may be the type of national standardization seen by Billig in France. As possible cultural and linguistic competition to these publications, the weekly News/North, has only English text. But with its bureaus in Rankin Inlet and Inuvik, it may achieve an eclectic Northwest Territorian flavour. It is the only multi-sectioned publication in the North with News, weather, sports, TV-listings, and classified advertisements. In future research I plan to read these magazines/newspapers and compare Nunavik, Nunavut and Inuit Tapirisat printed media. I hypothesize that Nunavimmiut will show a much greater sense of imagined community and will practise various forms of banal nationalism such as using the syllabic writing system and increasing language pride. For Nunatsiaq News to maintain and expand its readership, it may inadvertantly spread syllabics as the Nunavut norm. This may result in animosity towards the editorial staff or place of publication, depending on developments and associations. The placement of Inuit Tapirisat in Ottawa will undoubtedly be a mixed blessing. Any culturalist would fear a dependency approach to promoting culture and values. I hope that future research will give some indication of the affect of these printed works on socio-political and linguistic developments.
The last area of inquiry is also the most interesting with respect to a national language. Will Billig be right here and the dialect of the coming capital, Iqaluit, will spread across Nunavut as the standard variety of Inuktitut, or will another development ease tensions between formerly separate regions? The three regions have also had three separate school boards. The ICI has created commonality with the dual orthography and the government of the Northwest Territories has aided linguistic development by hiring a linguist to adapt the syllablic script to the electronic media as well as to develop conversion software between syllabics and the Roman orthography. Another task was recruiting an Inuk to train in linguistics and to continue the work begun. Both tasks were accomplished as well as the standardization of alphabetical order in both writing systems.
In this way we can compare the effect of the dual system on the development of nationalism in Nunavut. The printed media include stories in syllabics, Roman orthography and English. The Inuktitut texts are conservative in relation to recent changes in eastern Canadian dialects and thus reflect western usage better than otherwise, but this must be a compromise. It will be interesting to observe to what degree schools in Nunavut will use the same teaching materials and centralize/standardize teacher training. The spoken media will likely include all dialects and will reflect the dialect of the speaker rather much like modern broadcasting in England now. It is also likely that political representatives from different dialect areas will retain their variety even when confronted more closely with other varieties and especially South Baffin's. It is also likely, however, that sound changes which have affected West Greenlandic and Nunavimmiut and increasingly Baffin will spread westward to Nunavut's western boundary. Of course direct causal affiliation will be difficult to determine, but dialects in contact are more likely to simplify than they are to become equally complicated: this process hypothetically resembles the spread of the eastern Canadian variety.
Two institutional supports will certainly protect Inuktitut as a viable language in Nunavut. The Inuit Cultural Institute will continue to promote the orthographies chosen by the Inuit with printed media and assistance in the preparation of teaching materials and teacher training. Secondly, participants in the eastern mission Anglican church services will at least have knowledge of a more conservative variety of Inuktitut as well as sing and pray in a protected variety of the language. A certain socialization takes place under church services as visitors or Qallunaat can only participate fully by learning both Inuktitut and the syllabic script. The service also provides a certain adult education for school-leavers.
I have left out the schools in this connection because I want to point out some dependency and neo-liberal aspects of their educational philosopy. There are many different types of bilingual education, and Arctic school boards have elected one in which the mother-tongue is maintai ned in terms of number of speakers but not in terms of language status and ability of speakers. For a speaker of Inuktitut to rise above a primary school vocabulary and for the status of Inuktitut to improve from language of instruction in primary school, language-planners must offer Inuktitut as a language of instruction at higher levels. Here I am concerned that despite the presence of post-secondary education in the regional centres of Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet and Iqaluit, these have not led to an increase in the number of school hours in Inuktitut. If the goal for the modern Inuk is balanced bilingualism, then the schools need to offer a range of subjects throughout elementary and secondary school as well as the post-secondary level in Inuktitut. Because of consistent corpus-planning and potential cooperation with Greenland, instruction in Inuktitut is possible for all school subjects.
Canada houses many different models of bilingual education. It is well known in the international literature, for instance, that primary school education in the mother-tongue does not lead to balanced bilingualism. In fact, the goal behind this method is monolingualism in the language of instruction after this point. The mother-tongue serves merely to give the children a start. Another model with this time the goal of balanced bilingualism is the heritage language programs. These are financed by the different language communities, for instance the Ukrainian, German, Hebrew, Yiddish, Mandarin Chinese, Arabic and Polish communities. The program leads to some administrative challenges. A shortage of teachers may arise as well as a lack of appropriate teaching materials. Each community needs to train teachers and assist them in the actual work. But according to the Canadian Education Association (1991) the advantages are clear: positive self-concept and pride in one's background, better integration of child into school and society, more tolerance of other people and different cultures, increased cognitive, social and emotional development, ease in learning new languages, increased probability of employment, fosters stronger relationships between home and school, responds to the needs and wishes of the community. The program doubles up on course subjects taught at regular schools by offering subject instruction in the heritage language, so language and subject abilities keep apace. This combination leads to balance.
Inuktitut's potential as a national language differs from region to region. The Inuit of Inuvialuit have defined themselves in terms of a common historical, geographical and socio-political bond rather than in terms of language and religious affiliation. The Inuit of Labrador have had difficulty defining themselves and establishing their very own viable society. The lack of a standardized conservative writing system with supporting institutions will likely lead to language death. Only a strong social organization can maintain Labrador Inuttut under the present conditions. The case of Nunavik is clear. All of a common language spoken, used in schools, a common syllabic script printed in magazines and newspapers, and the associated Anglican church define various aspects of their imagined community. In this context Inuttitut is a national as well as an official language for Nunavik. It is also the language of organized religion and a language of instruction in the primary grades. According to my theory, Nunavut would be better off with a repeat of the Nunavik situation instead of a dual orthography and pluralism in other social aspects. The duality does not seemstable, and I predict conflict. I predict conflict over using Iqaluit's dialect as a national code, over spreading the syllabic script especially in school materials or the reverse giving artificial life to the Roman orthography where it is unpopular. (I do not predict the spread of the western variety, nor a return to a more conservative variety which better resembles the western variety.)
In the case of Nunavut, I predict that Billig's theory is correct: a national language is only possible as the spread of a particular dialect as a national standard, followed by conflict. In addition, the spread of the syllabic orthography will also be seen in areas where the Roman orthography is popular as a forced standardization.
The Anglican church is the dominant religion of Nunavut, but not at the expense of the Roman Catholic congregations. Some people may wish that both churches and both missions could have presented a standardized orthography. Instead I deem it as truly impossible for the Roman orthography to "win out" over the syllabic orthography because of the popular support among the eastern Inuit throughout history. Although only 10% in each community may attend services, the eastern churches have for decades provided linguistic and orthographic support for this 10%. This salt has likely salted the whole community for decades. I do not view this as a pro-religous position; on the contrary, the theory of language maintenance predicts this. The trusted media can only even after generations be a supportive institution of this calibre if they to the same degree involve members of the community in a process of socialization.
Responses to bilingual newspapers in Greenland by bilinguals in Danish and (West) Greenlandic indicate that everyone who can read Danish reads the Danish text instead of the Greenlandic. They say that it takes less time. In this way multi-language media promote specific languages more than others. While Anglican church services of the eastern mission only promote Inuktitut and syllabics (English-speakers receive no input and can produce nothing participatory while readers of Roman orthography are limited to passive participation, i.e. listening), Nunavut and Nunavik written media will likely promote one written code over the others: English for all bilinguals. I have already discussed the imbalanced support of schools in linguistic socialization. Not having Inuktitut as a language of instruction throughout the school system denies it of status and pupils of balanced bilingualism. In this way, for everyone after primary school, the Anglican church eastern mission is the only institution which unequivocally supports Inuktitut and the syllabic orthography.
Another counter-argument to my thesis comes from greater linguistic and cultural contact with Inuit in Russia, Alaska, and Greenland. Linguistic affinity with Greenlandic and Inupiaq may be hindered for writers and readers of syllabic script who lack the conversion software. It is my assumption that Inuit with sufficient electronic sophistication to use the Internet in communication with other Inuit will also be able to acquire the necessary software to make use of the favoured writing system. In addition, writing letters to each other or borrowing each other's teaching materials involve either the use of a scanner and conversion software or an additional knowledge of the Roman orthography.
Facilitating written communication with other Inuit is a very weak argument for overthrowing the syllabic script. Besides, with creater cooperation and unity will come a countering process of nationalism and group identity. The use of a different writing system allows for its symbolic importance in banal nationalism; a common language will still have dialects that divide. National unity in Greenland is certainly hindered by the spread of West Greenlandic as a national standard to East and North Greenland. East and North Greenlanders strongly resent the infiltration of West Greenlandic. Many see it as neo-colonialism. North Greenlanders imagine themselves to be a separate community as do East Greenlanders of themselves. Certainly in the case of Greenland, the attempt to force West Greenlandic on North and East Greenlanders supports Billig's theory. The spread of the Roman orthography for the sake of written communication with Greenland and Alaska will similarly provoke syllabic enthusiasts who view themselves already as an imagined community.
Here I look to the British sociologist, Anthony Giddens, for a theoretical model. Nunavut will need a certain utopian realism to overcome this linguistic and orthographic quandry. According to Giddens (1990) utopian realism involves four aspects: capitalism or the market forces must be countered by the politicization of the local; any institutional surveillance/governing must be met by practisioners of life politics in the politics of self-actualization; through the politicization of the global the Inuit can keep security issues in check; and through emancipatory politics, they can concentrate on eradicating the direct effects of industrial modernization - inequality.
Neo-liberals and dependency theorists alike are becoming aware of the fact that Inuit are empowered. Beginning with the Mackenzie Pipeline Inquiry (Freeman 1976), Inuit and other members of First Nations in Canada have spoken for their type of development. Baffin Inuit have hindered the United States in transporting dangerous substances to and from the Thule base as well as stopping American plans to test aircraft over the Canadian Arctic. Alaskan and Canadian Inuit have investment groups called corporations. The question now is how will the shareholders invest their finances. Regional government policy and the schools are key areas for Inuit survival. Regional governments need to practise language-status-planning by making Inuktitut the only official language of government. Secondly, if the current status for Inuktitut continues in the schools, then Canadian Inuit will have missed out on a historic opportunity to form balanced bilinguals and bi-culturals. Both proposals will require social commitment and personal, individual commitment to dropping dependency as a method. Typically elder Inuit know the language and the traditional culture well. If they can be engaged in socialization from pre-school through to career planning, the situation will be completely different: it will resemble more the situation for all self-determined people groups. When the survival of language and culture become financial issues, then that language and culture is doomed.
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