Jean Briggs asked me today – Why are you using the name Inuttitut? Isn’t the dialect Inuttut?
A good question. To the best of my understanding, the name Inuttitut is used in English to refer to the dialects spoken in Nunatsiavut (northern Labrador) of Inuktitut. Since kt is not possible in the northern dialect of Nunatsiavut (Rigolet is another story), people have changed Inuktitut -> Inuttitut.
BUT some speakers of this dialect have told me that when they are speaking the language, they still use Inuttut as the name for their language.
If this is correct, the situation is thus. For Nunatsiavut:
when speaking English, call it: Inuttitut
when speaking in Inuttitut, call it: Inuttut
when speaking English or Inuktitut, call it: Inuktitut
I wonder if Nunatsiavut speakers are using Inuttitut to refer to the language in general, i.e. all the dialects from Alaska across Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut to Kalallit Nunaat (Greenland)? These regions are sometimes refered to these days as a single region – Inuit Nunaat (Inuit – their land). ITK has recently decided to call all the Inuit regions within Canada Inuit Nunangat. The ng in Nunangat is a minor dialect difference. In Canada, eastern dialects usually have ng in third person possessors (his, her, their) but western Canadian dialects usually don’t have it. So both nunaat and nunangat are good Canadian Inuit words – just different dialects.