Inuktitut Mining Terminology Development

In March 2005, the Pirurvik Centre, sponsored by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, held a terminology development workshop on the topic of mining terminology. Over a 3 day period, approximately 180 mining terms were established
Participants in the process included:

  • Eva Aariak, Facilitator and Language Specialist (Pirurvik Centre)
  • Peter Ivalu, Language Specialist (INAC)
  • Linda Ham, Subject Specialist (Natural Resources Canada)
  • John Tongak, Elder and Language Specialist (Pirurvik Centre)
  • Tommy Tattatuapik, Elder and Language Specialist (Pirurvik Centre)
  • Celestine Erkidjut, Elder and Language Specialist (Pirurvik Centre)
  • Leena Evic, co-facilitator (Pirurvik Centre)
  • Gavin Nesbitt, technical support (Pirurvik Centre)


Language Details:

The group brought together a good mix of language and technical skill. The
common dialect of the group reflected Baffin Island usages; however, several
alternatives reflecting western Nunavut dialects were identified.

Process Information:
The workshop process allowed for each term to be introduced and discussed.
Participants would speak to their understanding and offer options to be
considered by the group. After considering the options one term would be chosen
by consensus and recorded in the transcript. As a by-product of this process,
Peter Ivalu was able to record unused suggested terms for use in daily
translations as well as for future terminology workshops.

Term Samples:

The terms developed in the workshop were based on a list provided by Peter Ivalu
and Linda Ham. This list was approached primarily in alphabetical order
(English); however, some attempts were made to classify terms by common
subjects to avoid duplications of meaning/terms as well as to speed up the
process. A sample of some of the words developed includes:

English Term: Carbon
Inuktitut Term: ᐅᔭᕋᒃ ᐃᓗᒥᒃᑐᖅ
Inuktitut Term: Ujarak Ilumiktuq

English Term: Cement
Inuktitut Term: ᕿᑯ
Inuktitut Term: Qiku

English Term: Copper
Inuktitut Term: ᑲᓐᓄᔭᖅ
Inuktitut Term: Kannujaq

English Term: Geology
Inuktitut Term: ᓄᓇᓕᕆᓂᖅ
Inuktitut Term: Nunaliriniq

English Term: Granite
Inuktitut Term: ᕿᑰᔭᖅ
Inuktitut Term: Qikuujaq

English Term: Bedrock
Inuktitut Term: ᖃᐃᖅᓱᖅ
Inuktitut Term: Qaiqsuq

English Term: Claim
Inuktitut Term: ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖅᓱᕈᓐᓇᐅᑦ
Inuktitut Term: Nangminiqsurunnaut

English Term: Contaminant
Inuktitut Term: ᐃᓚᑲᒻᒪᒃ
Inuktitut Term: Ilakammak

Lessons Learned:
To assist in future planning a few notable lessons learned were identified. These included:

  • Limit the number of definitions for any given term;
  • Allocate more planning time to pre-group terms by subject area,
  • Create a test/review document at the end of each day that incorporates terms developed;
  • Pre-develop rough Inuktitut translations of the English term definitions prior to workshop;
  • Identify the most obvious context of the term use and/or provide clear examples.
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INAC_Mining-final_terms.pdf229.91 KB