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First and Last Sound of a Word

Rule #4

The basic sounds are the raw materials used in the formation of words. Not all sounds may begin or end a word.

With few exceptions, a word may only begin with one of the following sounds.

i u a p t k m n s q

A consonant group cannot begin a word. If a word begins with a consonant, the following sound has to be a vowel. A word may begin with a vowel group. Below are some examples illustrating those rules:

  • i inuk, iivaa
  • u ulluq, uujuq, ui
  • a anaana, aana, aivaa, auka
  • p panik, paani, pualuk
  • t tasiq, tiirluk, taima
  • k kina, kiinaq, kuanniq
  • m   mannik, maani
  • n najak, naaq, niaquq
  • s savik, suurlu, siaru
  • q qanuq, qiiq, quaq

A word may only end with one of the following sounds.

i u a p t k q

A consonant group cannot end a word. If a word ends with a consonant, the preceding sound has to be a vowel. A word may end with a vowel group. Below are some examples illustrating those rules:

  • i ani, ikkii, ilai
  • u illu, urquu, aniu
  • a una, takuvaa, taakkua
  • p kinaup
  • t takuvut, angutiit, inuit
  • k nunavik, inuuk, auk
  • q ittuq, annuraaq, tariuq

Nowadays in Nunavik, it has become quite common to mix up consonants at the end of words. There is also a tendency to add a consonant at the end of words that used to end with a vowel. In this work, we maintain the original sound at the end of words as much as possible.

Examples

  • qimmiq (not qimmik) comes from qingmiq (and before that from qikmiq)
  • utjuk (not utjuq) comes from ugjuk (and before that from ugʐuk)
  • tuttu (not tuttuk) comes from tuktu (and before that from tuntu)
  • illu (not illuq) comes from iglu (and before that from englu)

Tuttu

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Caribou

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