July 09, 2008

Inuktitut for babies

Labrador Inuit struggle to save languageNunatsiavut, the governing body of the Labrador Inuit, will begin work on a 50-year plan to save its vanishing language, at a conference starting Tuesday in Nain.

Nunatsiavut officials will look at expanding programs, such as the Language Nest founded in 2001 in Hopedale, to expose babies to the Inuktitut language.
A bit on how the Language Nest works:Doris Boas and her son Cole, 2, used the small classroom in the Nunatsiavut Health Centre for the Language Nest to learn Inuktitut together from a computer program. Boas said although her family spoke the language, she never learned.

"My parents were fluent and I wasn't taught," Boas said. "It's sad because in the past, it was just natural for it to be said; my parents grew up knowing just Inuktitut, and for it to come this far, to almost losing it, it's sad," Boas said.

She now hopes to learn more, along with her son.

Agnes Able, who teaches at the Language Nest, said she's heard a lot of first words in Inuktitut from the babies and from their parents.

However, she said it's often hard for parents to keep up the language at home, once they finish the two-year program in the classroom.

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