Innuktitut is a member of the Eastern (Inuit) branch of the language family that is classified Eskimo-Aleut, and is spoken by some 65,000 people chiefly in Nunavut Territory in Canada, as well as in the adjacent parts of Greenland and Alaska, where it is also known as Inupiaq. The closest linguistic affiliation is with the languages of the Western (Yupik) branch spoken in Siberia.
Inuktitut is spoken in a variety of dialects, majority of which are mutually intelligible. The dialectal differences are mainly lexical and phonological. Varieties spoken in Alaska and Greenland are sometimes considered to be different languages. The language has a rich oral tradition and the first book was published in 1742. In Alaska and Greenland the language is spelt in the Roman alphabet, while in Nunavut Territory in Canada the Inuktitut syllabic script is predominantly used. It was originally developed for the Cree language and adapted for Inuktitut in the late 1800s. A standardized dual orthography for both Roman and syllabic scripts was established in the late 1970s by the Inuit Cultural Institute.
Inuktitut is a polysynthetic language. There is an immense number of suffixes that are added to root words which can be many syllables long and complex enough to serve as an entire sentence.
CLASSIFICATION = Eskimo-Aleut family, SCRIPT = Inuktitut syllabary and Roman alphabet