Inupiat Dictionary App Now Available


A new Iñupiat dictionary app provides a quick and easy to look up words in the North Slope Iñupiaq language, the language of the Iñupiat people of the North Slope Borough in northern Alaska.

App features include a searchable list of words in Iñupiat and English, as well as an Iñupiat word of the day. Users can also save words into a favorites list for future reference. Another feature allows users to share the word they just learned on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.

Makers of this app hope it inspires people to learn the Iñupiaq language, but note that word-for-word translations aren’t always available because the structure of the Iñupiaq language is very different from English.

“It is my fervent hope that this effort will contribute to the maintenance of Iñupiaq as a living language in use by the people of the North Slope,” said Edna Ahgeak Maclean, an Iñupiaq language consultant who compiled a North Slope Iñupiaq dictionary in 2010. The app was adapted from this dictionary, which is available online. “The language evolved with the people. It is central to our culture and our identity,” she says in the beginning of the dictionary.

Maclean is Iñupiaq-Eskimo and is on the team that is trying to save Alaska Native languages. She is part of a project called Documenting Alaskan and Neighboring Languages through the University of Alaska Fairbanks, which collaborated on the Iñupiat dictionary app with the North Slope Borough Iñupiat Heritage Center.

The app was created by GuideOne, an app design company, which also created an app for the Alaska Native Heritage Center that provides the user with walking tours, scavenger hunts, quizzes and much more.

Find the free Iñupiat dictionary app in the iTunes store by searching "Iñupiat word finder."