October 20th, 2001

Kaujiret Inuit Piusinginik.

W00t ! While I was off at work today, an unexpected package arrived from Amazon: an OOP book by E. J. Peck on Eskimo Grammar. Peck arrived in Hudson Bay in 1876 with no knowledge of the dialect of Inuktitut spoken in the area, and would later write in his diary that he considered himself "to have mastered the language only after six hours of study a day for seven years." So successful and ardent a student of the language was he that the Inuit came to call him Uqammak -- "the one who speaks well".

On the topic of the Inuit, it's worth mentioning that there's a movie coming out for audiences in the United States called Atanarjuat, which is based on an Inuit legend and was shot on site in the Nunavut town of Iglulik. It's all in a dialect of Inuktitut with English subtitles. Between the scenery and the story -- which is markedly different in tone and content than Western cinema -- it's worth seeing even if you don't much care for the snow. (You'll get to see a head-punching contest, a couple of shamans, and a guy running naked and barefoot across an ice floe. That's entertainment !)
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