Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Is it just me....

...or does that say "Irqaluit," with an 'r'?

I had spent some time on the plane ride home (back in November) studying the syllabics, and if I'm not mistaken the second character (the superscript rotated 'U' with the hook) is an 'r', making it "Ir-Ka-Lu-It." It kinda stuck in my mind ever since. How does it work?


Way Way Up said...

The superscript "r" and the "qa" r part of the same characted so it still says "qa". As I'm sure you probably know the superscript "r' helps differentiate between a "ka" and qa". I've bumped into surnames up here used in different communities that sometimes have a "q" by itself and other versions have an "r" in front of the "q" - for example Irqqaqsaq, Iqqqaqsaq or even Irqqqasarq. I'm not 100% certain why this is but suspect it has a lot to do with the way that syllabics spread throughout the north. Early explorers and other officials simply spelled surnames and place names the way they sounded to their ear - with varying levels of accuracy.

From what I know there was been a great deal of confusion in the past with making syllabics fit up with sounds of the Inuktitut language. But then, its the same with English and many other languages as well. Hope I haven't muddied the waters here. I suspect Clare from "Arctic House" would be able to add to this as well.

Aleks said...

Oh, I'm confused :-)

So the 'r' is associated with the 3rd character (the 'b' looking "ka")?

I thought that the consonant 'superscripts' were only modifiers appearing AFTER another character (as opposed to before).

So 'b' says "ka", but '?b' says "qa"?

jennifer of nunablog said...

Yes, aleks that's right.

The superscripts are called finals when they appear after another syllabic and don't quite modify the preceding syllabic, but just add the consonant part of the finals regular sound. For example if you put a regular 'b looking' ka, followed by the final (superscript) ka you would get the word 'kak'.

The qi, qu, qa sounds are made with the ri, ru, ra finals in front of the ki, ku, ka syllabics, a ra (sideways u with the hook) final in front of the ka (b looking) makes the qa in Iqaluit.

Aleks said...

Whoa!! I get it! Apparently I did not notice the 'qa' syllabic in the Wikipedia listing until just now.

The original list of syllabics that I was given actually did not contain the full list of characters, which is likely the source of my confusion.

Thank you both for helping explain it.