Inuktitut and Inuit youth: Language attitudes as a basis for language planning
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Tulloch, S. (2004). Inuktitut and Inuit youth: Language attitudes as a basis for language planning. Université Laval.
The objective of this thesis is to identify language perceptions and attitudes among Inuit youth (18-25 years old) in three Baffin Island communities: Iqaluit, Pangnirtung and Pond Inlet. The premise of the study is that the Inuktitut language will only thrive if young Inuit are committed to using and maintaining their ancestral language. Semi-directed interviews (37) and closed questionnaires (130) elicit information on dayto- day language choice, perceptions of language use, problems or concerns in daily language use, symbolic and practical value of Inuktitut, English and French, and opinions about the promotion of Inuktitut in Nunavut. These language perceptions and attitudes expressed by young Inuit illuminate reasons for the current level of use of Inuktitut and help prioritize areas for future language planning. Findings suggest that although Inuktitut remains relatively strong, Inuit youth are aware of and sensitive to the loss of Inuktitut, particularly in Iqaluit. Inuktitut is valued by Inuit youth because it is the mother tongue; the language of Inuit tradition, culture and identity; a “fun” language; a language that is being lost; a useful language for getting a job; and an effective tool for participating and integrating in the community. At the same time, English is valued because it is a “cool” language, the language of the new millennium that allows Inuit youth to travel, get an education, get jobs, and participate in their local communities and beyond. Inuit youth are strongly motivated to maintain both Inuktitut and English. They need both languages in order to pursue their aspirations of making the best of both worlds in which they are currently negotiating their place.