Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik September 12, 2017 - 11:30 am

Learn Inuktitut in Montreal, appreciate “the genius of the Inuit language”

Information sessions on Sept. 18

Georges Filotas speaks Inuktitut to his students the Montreal Children’s Hospital in 2012. (FILE PHOTO)
Georges Filotas speaks Inuktitut to his students the Montreal Children’s Hospital in 2012. (FILE PHOTO)

If you want to learn Inuktitut, now you can—right in the heart of downtown Montreal, thanks to courses offered by Inuktitut expert Georges Filotas.

The 10-week courses, set to start this month at at Nunavik’s Avataq Cultural Institute, will be split into two levels, with one geared to beginners, the other for those who already have some basic knowledge of Inuktitut, such as proper pronunciation as well how to build words and phrases.

Filotas, a former general manager of the Fédération des co-opératives du Nouveau-Québec, is a fluent speaker of Inuktitut. He learned to speak the language in Kangirsuk nearly 50 years ago, in the early 1970s.

During his first session with beginner language-learners, Filotas said he tries to give them a good picture of what he calls “the genius of the Inuit language” and how it differs from English and French.

Filotas said he hopes his students will leave his courses knowing how to read, write and speak Inuktitut—and not in just little pieces.

To help them achieve that, Filotas provides grammatical tables, prepares exercises and introduces texts which demonstrate the best Inuktitut language that he can find.

“You have to bring the students into contact with a spoken or written text which is of very good quality,” said Filotas, who sources contemporary and older materials for his courses.

As well, Filotas often prepares glossaries for the materials—because some of the words used can’t be found in the available Inukitut dictionaries.

During the courses, students build up three binders, containing the teaching materials that Filotas has developed in his quest to “put together a better understanding and a better appreciation for the teaching of Inuktitut.”

On that, there’s no consensus yet, said Filotas, who has taught Inuktitut courses for years, most recently at John Abbott College and the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

Filotas is also helping to develop teaching materials for the new Montreal-based college program for Nunavik Inuit—Nunavik Sivunitsavut, which will celebrate its official launch Sept. 20.

You can learn more about the courses offered by Filotas at information sessions Sept. 18 at Avataq’s Montreal offices located at 4150 Ste. Catherine St. W., Suite 360 in Westmount (Atwater metro, facing Westmount Square.)

Each weekly class runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the cost for the 10-week session set at $250.

Depending on the numbers of students, there could be two sections of the introductory level, Filotas said.

For more information, you can contact Filotas directly by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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(10) Comments:

#1. Posted by IceClass on September 12, 2017

Meanwhile, in Nunavut, non-speakers are stuck looking at crazy expensive courses they can’t afford from the Piurivik centre.

#2. Posted by Ataniiq on September 12, 2017

Agreed @1

#3. Posted by Inuktitusuungunngittunga on September 12, 2017

“As well, Filotas often prepares glossaries for the materials—because some of the words used can’t be found in the available Inukitut dictionaries.”

What exactly does Culture and Heritage as far as Inuktitut goes? I see a lot of promo swag crap - coffee mugs, syllabics t-shirts, etc, but why is there no current, up-to-date dictionary, either in just Inuktitut or English-Inuktitut or Inuktitut-English? And why is what little does exist not being promoted like crazy.

If you want the language to thrive, don’t make everyone have to beg to learn it. Do something besides piss away the funding. Partner with Rosetta Stone or something! Anything!

#4. Posted by Ilinniaqtuq on September 12, 2017

The biggest issue is that Inuktitut needs to be standardized, like it is in Greenland.

There are actually two or three dictionaries published in the last few years, but they are specific to one dialect or another, and they are not comprehensive. 

The GN could accomplish a lot more if there was a standardized Inuktitut. If you want the language to thrive, you need to standardize it. Period.

#5. Posted by language power on September 12, 2017

Good going. Teaching our language will grow as time goes and we need all the help we can get. As the saying goes…by your words you are…

#6. Posted by Nunavik 2-2 on September 12, 2017

Jajailaq has been more dedicated to Nunavik than many qallunaat who come to Nunavik for a few years.  Even more than Inuit who have left Nunavik and Inuit culture and language for better opportunities.

Good luck students.

#7. Posted by Uqausirq on September 13, 2017

Look. The Qallunaat tried to distinguish our Inuktitut speaking language in the past, and today this Qallunaak is trying to teach our Inuktitut language to the Southerners, who are welling to learn, and help us to cope in the society we face everyday of the Qallunaats. He has past down the elder speaking Inuktitut words. Mabe us Inuit should respect him for speaking our Mother tongue, like we respect our elders who we talk to in respect. Nakurmii Jaajii!

#8. Posted by OKUK. on September 14, 2017

Well done Mr.Filotas,
I hope the Nunavut govt. adopts your system of instruction, but they
will probably just continue to let their language be destroyed through
incompetence and nepotism.

#9. Posted by Chesley on September 14, 2017

The news of Inutituut classes being available to the public is so long overdue. Not only that but they’re going to be a huge success, just wait and see!

#10. Posted by Frédéric Massicotte on September 19, 2017

There is few people really interested in learning Inuktitut in the Nunavik. We in Kuujjuaq try to learn with the book ‘Conversation Inuit’ de Ortiz Dolores and small discussions around. We are really interested in attending remotely to the course.

What about a MOOC?!



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