Naskapi

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A language of Canada

Alternate Names
Innu Aimun, Iyuw Iyimuuun
Population

620 (2011 census).

Location

Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador provinces; Kawawachikamach about 10 km northeast of Schefferville in northeastern Quebec at watershed; Natuashish on the mainland, an isolated community in Labrador.

Language Maps
Language Status

5 (Developing).

Dialects

Eastern Naskapi (Natuashish), Western Naskapi (Kawawachikamach).

Language Use

Vigorous in both dialects. Slowly shifting to English [eng]. All ages. Also use English [eng], French [fra], Montagnais [moe].

Language Development
Literacy rate in L1: Western Naskapi: 1%–5%. Literacy rate in L2: 50%. Ongoing community language program in Western Naskapi. Syllabic orthography taught in Grade 2 in Western Naskapi. Eastern Naskapi is taught as a subject at school (Golla 2007). Taught in primary schools. Dictionary. Grammar. NT: 2007.
Writing

Latin script [Latn]. Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics script [Cans].

Other Comments

Naskapi culture was nomadic and completely dependent on the migratory habits of caribou. Caribou hunting and land use still seen as important. Innu Aimun refers to both Eastern Naskapi dialect and Montagnais [moe] but not Western Naskapi. Some linguists have referred to dialect spoken at Natuashish as Eastern Naskapi but currently refer to it as Innu Aimun or Mushuau Innu Aimun.